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Kwadwo Poku strikes twice as New York City draws 2-2 at Columbus

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The Slayin' Ghanaian bagged his first MLS brace as the visitors rode out a 75-minute weather delay to grab a vital point at Mapfre Stadium.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The legend continues.

Although they couldn't hold a one-goal lead and secure all three points, Kwadwo Poku and visiting New York City withstood a weather delay and a tough Columbus Crew side on their way to a 2-2 draw.

The scintillating Poku scored both goals for the Bronx Blues. It was his second brace in all competitions this year, but his first in MLS. He currently sports six goals and seven assists in league play.

"That’s why I am in there-- to create and score some goals, so it has been good," the former Atlanta Silverback said after the game. "Just working with these players around me has given me confidence. I have the ability and I can do it, so I should keep going."

There wasn't much reason for confidence in the early going, however. With Shay Facey out for one game due to yellow card accumulation, the unsubtle Jefferson Mena started in central defense alongside Jason Hernandez. In the 24th minute, Crew striker Kei Kamara snuck past the nonplussed NYCFC back line and finished off Ethan Finlay's cross to open the scoring. Kamara, who doesn't need much space in order to score, extended his league-leading goal tally to 18.

As the halftime whistle blew, the opening goal stood alone on the scoreboard. In the second half, however, it was Poku Time.

In the 57th minute, Poku found David Villa on the left as both men charged into the danger zone. The Captain rolled it ahead to number 88, who flicked a beautiful outside-footed finish just inside the far post.

The assist, his seventh of the year, tied Villa with Poku for the team lead.

Just nine minutes later, Andre Pirlo swung a corner kick from the far side, which Andrew Jacobson played back off his head. With space in front of him, Poku picked up the offering just behind the penalty spot and smashed it past Crew keeper Steve Clark to take a 2-1 advantage.

Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived. Just five minutes after subbing on for Justin Meram, Cedric Mabwati snaked his way behind the New York City defense and finished off a through-ball from Kamara to equalize. It was Cedric's first goal for the yellow-and-black.

In the 77th minute, any hope of a thrilling climax was put on hold. After observing lightning in the area, match officials suspended the contest as per MLS regulations. Play wouldn't be resumed for 75 minutes.

Upon the restart, a couple of late New York City subs weren't enough to break the deadlock. The whistle blew with the scoreline all square.

In the race for the Eastern Conference playoffs, a point is a point.

Said goalkeeper Josh Saunders after the game: "Anytime you can come from behind on the road and get a point out of it is great. Obviously we had a chance to win the game, but we’ll take the result."

Added gaffer Jason Kreis: "I think that we need to feel good about the fact that we got one point in a very difficult place to play against what I think is a very good team. To come back from being down a goal in the first half again shows our guys that we can do it, that we can play. I think there was a lot of really good soccer out there tonight, so I feel good about it and hopefully the players do as well."

Nobody feels better than Poku: in his five MLS starts for New York City, the team has never lost, sporting four wins and one draw.

The intensity doesn't let up for the Bronx Blues. On Sunday, they'll venture to the StubHub Center for a much-anticipated throwdown with L.A. Galaxy, the defending MLS Cup champions. The headlines may hype the clash between Frank Lampard and new Galaxy star man Steven Gerrard, but after another rampant Poku performance, we may have a better guess as to whose star will shine brightest.