With a chance to break into the top six in the Eastern Conference on Sunday afternoon, New York City FC picked the right time to record their first four-goal match. At the same time, they chose the wrong time to allow their first four-goal match.
Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard cannot come soon enough.
Despite two goals from captain David Villa, NYCFC’s dramatic 4-4 tie against Toronto FC proved that just Andoni Iraola and Angelino won’t be enough to improve an NYCFC backline that continues to struggle.
On the bright side, the offensive attack has picked up big time and came through in the clutch as Patrick Mullins’ goal in the 84th minute preserved a point for the Blues as NYCFC has now lost just once in their last six matches. The point keeps them right in the thick of things with a match against a struggling New England team coming up on Saturday.
“We are really starting out games well, creating attacking chances, creating goal scoring chances and taking goals,” NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis said. “But for whatever reason, there seems to be a moment in every game where we just stop. I think the moment probably came when we gave away that penalty kick – the second that he (Sebastian Giovinco) actually scored to make it 2-1. I think a lot of guys kind of hung their heads at that moment and said, ‘Here we go again.’”
NYCFC started hot against Toronto, taking the early 2-0 lead, opening the scoring on a David Villa free kick in the 16th minute. He scored on a penalty kick in the 65th minute to record his third brace against a Canadian opponent this year. He scored twice at Toronto back on June 20th in NYCFC’s 2-0 win and then twice again at Montreal last week.
Overall, he’s scored eight goals in the last seven games.
“It was a very strange game,” Villa said. “At the beginning, we were winning 2-0. We were happy and thinking we had such an advantage that we started making mistakes. We suffered three goals against us in about 10 minutes. What looked like an easy victory became a very peculiar match for us. I would also like to add that we have the best goalkeeper in the whole league. It if wasn’t for him (Josh Saunders), it would have been a bigger problem.”
The “bigger problem” was in fact small in stature.
With NYC up 2-0, TFC’s star striker Sebastian Giovinco took matters into his own hands, scoring three goals in a nine minute span toward the end of the first half to give TFC a 3-2 lead.
Despite Andoni Iraola and, eventually, Angelino having solid debuts at the full back positions, Shay Facey struggled back there for the first time since NYC’s loss at Real Salt Lake, this time though with Kwame Watson-Siriboe as the other center back. Siriboe had possibly the worst game of his career, allowing Giovinco to carve right through to score the quick hat trick in the first half.
However, despite the poor play defensively, both Iraola and Angelino proved that they could be options for NYCFC going forward. Iraola’s technique and Angelino’s speed adds more threats to an already improving attack.
With Lampard’s debut expected to come next week and Pirlo’s the week after against Orlando City, along with getting back Mix Diskerud from international duty and others from injuries, NYCFC could bolster themselves on both sides of the ball going into a huge playoff push in August and September.
“It was a big day for me because it was my professional debut and I’m really happy,” Angelino said after the match.
“Hopefully we can get even better as a team. We worked hard and fought to earn the draw. We need to improve our results.”