New York City FC came away from the Mapfre Stadium on Saturday night with a share of the spoils after playing out a 2-2 draw with Columbus.
Here’s Five Points from the match, presented by Etihad Airways…
Only one place to start: that equalizer by Taty Castellanos which earned him a place on the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10.
It was a staggering piece of technical skill as Taty took aim from all of 35 yards and beat Zack Steffen with a shot that rocketed into the bottom corner.
City had been knocking on the door with efforts from Alexandru Mitriță and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, so this was no goal out of the blue (excuse the pun), but it was an unbelievable strike which drew a collective gasp from Castellanos’s teammates.
For Taty, however, it was no surprise to see it fly into the net.
Taty said: “I had faith in myself to score from outside of the box and I’m very happy to score again.
“In the second half we started to play in a different way. It was difficult, we knew they played well with the ball, but it’s fine, we came out with a tie that felt like a victory. Playing not so well in the first half and going on to tie the game is important.”
While Dome Torrent will be eager to start turning draws into wins, there is never any shame with coming away with a point from a road game, especially with the distances involved with travel in MLS.
NYCFC had to come back twice to recover deficits in this game, against a Columbus Crew who were celebrating the career of Zack Steffen in his farewell appearance before joining up with Man City.
It took belief and grit to come back twice and refuse to be beaten, just as it did in Minnesota on their big day.
This kind of character matters most later on in the campaign, so it will have please Dome no end to see his team pick themselves up, not once but twice.
Second Half Improvement
By their own admission, NYCFC were some way off their best form in the first half and were forced to soak up plenty of pressure, with Sean Johnson being required on several occasions to make big stops.
Columbus had the wave of momentum behind them and when they took the lead off a contentious penalty, lesser teams could have crumbled.
Not NYC though. After the interval, it was a different team and City were in the ascendancy, equalizing through Héber after a sweeping counter-attack and an emphatic finish.
When Columbus scored immediately after to go 2-1 up, again you might’ve expected it to be over, but the Boys in Blue never quit, going close through Mitriță and Tajouri-Shradi before Castellanos walloped in his unforgettable third goal for NYC.
Sands of Time
Castellanos took the fan Man of the Match vote, despite being a second half substitute, but James Sands also deserves plaudits after yet another mature, dominant performance at the back.
The Rye native is enjoying a breakthrough season to remember, taking to senior soccer seamlessly, and this was another sterling showing from the 18-year old.
If performances like this continue, surely James will be catching the eye of U.S. Soccer and advancing through the age-groups at international level.
For now, he’ll concentrate on getting more minutes under his belt and continuing his development at the top level.
Back to NYC
Now it’s finally time for NYCFC to return home and play in front of a home crowd after the four-game road stretch.
FC Cincinnati are the opponents on Thursday night as we celebrate Pride at Yankee Stadium and hope to extend our unbeaten run to 10 games and rack up the full quantity of points.
It’s going to be a great night on and off the field with some special guests in the building, so don’t miss it – grab your tickets for the match below and wear your rainbow colors.