By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 16- NYCFC (1-6-4) returned to Yankee Stadium Friday night, but the result of the match could be considered disappointing or uplifting depending on one’s point of view. The 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire ((3-5-1) extended NYC’s winless streak to nine, but ended its losing streak at four.
The support of the fans in the Bronx has been consistent as 23,315 attended on Friday. Each match at Yankee
Stadium has drawn more than 20,000.
The visitors from the Mid-West scored first as Razvan Cocis scored on an assist from Shaun Maloney in the 12th minute. In the 26th minute, NYC defender R.J. Allen was ousted from the contest after receiving a red card. Thus, NYC was required to play the final 64 minutes with a one man disadvantage. In the following minute, Jeff Larentowicz’s kick raised the Chicago lead to 2-0.
Chicago dominated the match throughout the first 45 minutes. They controlled the ball for the major period of the first half and took 14 shots on goal contrasted with only five for NYC.
In the one minute of stoppage time allotted at the end of the half Mahdi Ballouchy scored NYC’s first goal of the match. His third goal of the season broke his tie with teammates David Villaand Patrick Mullins as the club’s leading goal scorer. Ballouchy commented on his goal, “I think the timing was very good for us.”
The effort made by the players of NYC in the second half was a great contrast with that of the opening stanza. The match was scoreless during the 45 minutes of the second half until the addition of five minutes of stoppage time.
As in the first half, NYC netted its only goal in stoppage time. Rookie Khiry Shelton scored a goal that was set up by
experienced international David Villa. The 21 year old, who had entered the match at the 60 minute mark, scored his first MLS goal. The PAC-12 Player of the Year while at Oregon State university was a high draft pick by NYC this year. NYC coach Jason Kreis believes the goal will be a pivotal event in Shelton’s professional career, “I believe that [goal] could move him to the next level.” The young player agreed with his coach, “It will definitely build my confidence.”
Although NYC did not obtain a victory, the win the draw and added point, under the circumstances of the match, was a very positive development to the participants. Kreis remarked, “The entire team was willing to do anything to get that result. I’m very hopeful that this is set as a landmark. We believe we’re a better team than our points (7) indicate.”
The veteran Villa was in accord with his coach, “The team is much better than our position in the league (8thof 10teams in the Eastern Conference) shows. This can be a turning point.”
NYCFC travels west next to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday, May 23.
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