NYCFC had a big weekend facing off against Minnesota United FC on their opening night of Allianz Field. Both teams came away with one point, and three goals apiece - one being an own goal as a result of a rare mistake by Sean Johnson.
Time and time again, the Etihad Player of the Month for March has been the 'keeper this team has looked to in the big moments. When a mishap occurs, as they inevitably will for the last line of defense, it's up to the rest of the team to show they have their teammate's back.
That's just what happened in Minnesota, as James Sands explains...
James told reporters: “I think on any other day that doesn’t happen. You can’t really blame him, he’s saved us in three or four games, so it happens.
"No one wants to go through that, but it’s going to happen to all of us at some point or another. I think it was good of Anton [Tinnerholm] especially, it shows that people have your back, and as I said, mistakes are going to happen, but you’re going to have to move past it. I thought he played great the rest of the game.”
When you're New York, the whole City has your back… Seconds after the mistake occurred and the Loons celebrated, Anton Tinnerholm and Sands ran to Johnson’s side to show that he wasn’t alone.
The team's support went a long way, because Johnson bounced back and played the rest of the game as if nothing happened, conceding no more goals and providing a reliable option for defenders to continue passing back to play out.
Johnson’s ability to shake off mistakes speaks volumes on his character and proves the value the keeper brings to the team, both on and off the pitch.
“Sean Johnson is amazing, he has personality," Dome Torrent said.
"After we conceded the goal, because everybody conceded the goal, we played amazing. He played with confidence. That’s the most important thing, he has the personality to keep playing with the top teams.
“I’m very proud of him because it’s not easy after that happens to play with confidence. The problem is when we play poorly or don’t play with confidence. I am very proud of him because it's not easy to recover quickly after that.”
Dome wasn’t the only one who left the game feeling proud, Johnson himself chose not to dwell on his mistake but to focus on the quality of the game the rest of the team played to fight for the one point.
It also spoke volumes that the U.S. international chose to front up and address the media following the game.
Sean reflected: “I don’t want to let my mistake take away from what the team gave today. I think from front to back, everybody that came on the pitch, I think the effort was there, we played a confident game, in moments we weren’t scared to make mistakes.
“Going back to the play, I think there’s no point in making excuses. Mistakes happen, it’s about responding to it, there was a lot of game left to play and the boys in front of me responded in a big way. I think all game, everybody fought until the death.”
“Obviously disappointed to let the guys down in that moment, but things happen, and they know. I apologized to them, put my hand up, and we moved forward. Everybody assured me that they had my back today, and we were able to come back out with a point.”
Although the team fought well for the draw against Minnesota United, Johnson viewed it as a result of the team's confidence and ability to play a full 90’ minutes attacking without backing down.
“We were ever so close to coming away with three points today, and we pushed and we pushed and we pushed, but I think that confidence is there with everybody, and I don’t think this game is going to do anything that’ll set us back. I think if anything, it’s going to drive us forward,” said Johnson.
Now NYCFC moves forward, coming away with one point - and more importantly, the strong family bond the team has built. The team sets their focus on heading to Audi Field and taking on D.C. United for the second time this season, in hopes of bringing home a win. #ForTheCity!