NYCFC Goals: Mitriță 50'
AIK Goals: Ylätupa 52'
Alexandru Mitriță scored on his first appearance for New York City FC in an entertaining 1-1 draw with AIK on Friday.
Following on from Sunday’s encounter with Danish giants FC Copenhagen, City’s showdown with the 12-time Swedish champions brought the curtain down on this first leg of preseason.
U.S. internationals Sean Johnson and Jonathan Lewis made immediate returns to the XI after successful January camps and the former was called into action twice in the early going.
First, Johnson parried away a point-blank volley from Tarik Elyounoussi on 5’ when AIK dispossessed NYC on the edge of the box, before Sean came up big again with a paw to turn away a chip shot on 9’ from the same player.
NYCFC’s latest signing Mitriță was celebrating his 24th birthday by pulling on his new jersey for the first time and he almost marked the occasion in style when he strode clear on 10’, forcing Oscar Linney into a fine save with a thumping drive towards the bottom corner.
Linney was equal to it, but the pace and power of Mitriță's run and snapshot will have been an encouraging sight for Dome and the coaching staff on the touchline at NYU’s Abu Dhabi Stadium.
NYCFC enjoyed a good spell following that chance, holding possession and keeping AIK recessed back in the defensive third with patient build-up play and sound passing keeping Torrent’s side on the front foot.
A couple of lengthy injury-related stoppages took some of the fizz out of the first half but NYCFC wasted no time in seizing the initiative after the break, taking the lead through birthday boy, Mitriţă.
The Romanian collected the loose ball at the top of the box five minutes into the second period before clinically dispatching his strike into the roof of the net for his first goal in City colors.
That lead would only last two minutes as AIK hit straight back from the penalty spot after second half substitute Sebastien Ibeagha made the foul and Saku Ylätupa converted past Luis Barraza, who had replaced Johnson at the interval.
Only Jonathan Lewis completed the 90' for NYCFC as both sides made rafts of changes in the second period and the match would culminate in a 1-1 draw.
Next up, City returns to New York this weekend before flying down to Orlando at the start next week for the second stage of preseason.
NYCFC XI (First Half): Johnson, Sweat, Chanot, Tinnerholm, Matarrita, Ring, Torres, Moralez, Lewis, Mitriță, Castellanos
NYCFC XI (Second Half): Barraza, Tinnerholm (Scally 63'), Chanot (Sands 63'), Ibeagha, Rocha, Ofori, Ring (Parks 63'), Medina, Tajouri-Shradi, Lewis, Mitriță (Bedoya 63')