Maxi Moralez and Mauro Manotas traded first-half goals as NYCFC skidded to a draw against the Houston Dynamo at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut.
It was supposed to be a home game.
It felt anything but homey.
Though David Villa and Alex Ring returned to the starting XI and fullback Andraz Struna managed a nifty assist on his full debut, a lackluster crowd and a frustratingly uneven performance were the stories of the game for New York City, who have now scored just four goals in their last five games, managing one single win over the period.
Things looked bright for the Blues out of the gate, of course.
When the shortest man on the field scores a header...— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 23, 2017
Go on, @mmoralezoficial! #NYCvHOU https://t.co/rtG7Su3kno
Struna did well to keep the ball tight against the sideline on his approaching run, and managed to find Moralez for the header, despite the Argentine standing a towering 5’3”. It made for a roaring start for the ostensible home team.
But the Dynamo responded in kind just ten minutes later. Take a look at what happens here:
Vicente Sánchez, you wiley ol' vet. #NYCvHOU https://t.co/ocxXKK1Y27— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) September 23, 2017
Houston wasted not a single moment after NYCFC was whistled for a foul, using a lightning-quick re-start to catch them unawares. It was a baffling moment all around. But it was allowed.
And it it ended up being the difference in the game.
Tommy McNamara would go on to miss a gimme in front of goal and Sean Johnson and Tyler Deric would trade quality saves (SeanJohn’s were better), but the final whistle would come to cap a whole lot of second half sound and fury signifying nothing. At the end of the game, the teams would split the points. And at the end of the day, NYCFC would still hold the second-best record in MLS, four points ahead of third-place Chicago in the Eastern Conference.
Of course, the Expansion Team Down South is just six points back of the Blues with two games in hand.
Something to think about.
NEXT UP FOR NYCFC: A midweek date with Montreal at the Stade Saputo. The match kicks off at 7:30pm this Wednesday, September 27th, and will be televised on YES.