First Touch

New York City FC Denied Win By Last Gasp Goal

New York City FC recorded a point on the road against Atlanta United on Wednesday night. The Boys in Blue enjoyed the perfect start to proceedings when Gabriel Pereira put them a goal up inside the first minute. That lead would last 10 minutes before Tyler Wolff equalized for the hosts. A tense game saw NYCFC retake the lead early in the second half after Richy Ledezma fed Pereira in behind to grab his second of the evening. Atlanta would find an equalizer in injury time via Nick Firmino to leave both teams with a point.

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New York City FC players and staff celebrate the early goal by midfielder Gabriel Pereira (11) against Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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The Boys in Blue traveled to Atlanta United for the first of three consecutive road games, as the teams locked horns for the second time this season.

The pair had previously met in early April, where goals from Gabriel Pereira and Giorgos Giakoumakis forced both teams to leave the evening with a point. 

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Justin Haak (80) blocks a shot by Atlanta United defender Juan Sanchez (22) during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

First Half

Pereria would once again find himself on the scoresheet against Atlanta thanks to a lightning-quick start by the visitors that saw them take the lead inside the opening minute. 

Keaton Parks would be the architect of the chance, with his quick and precise pass finding Pereira in space on the right. After standing his defender up, the Brazilian engineered a yard of space before curling it into the bottom corner. 

At the other end, the sixth minute saw Brooks Lennon curl a freekick toward Luis Barraza’s goal, but the shot-stopper was equal to it. 

Atlanta would eventually restore parity in the 11th minute. The goal came via a combination on the Atlanta right and was ultimately converted by Tyler Wolff.

Both sides were now battling to control possession, and that put chances at a premium. 

Wolff would again go close for United after play down the Atlanta left saw a low cross flash across the NYCFC goal – the forward unable to put a decisive touch on the ball. 

As the half drew to a close it would be Periera that was afforded NYCFC’s best chance to retake the lead after a long ball was misjudged by Brad Guzan. 

With the goal now gaping, Periera attempted to bring the loose ball under control but was dispossessed before he could set himself to shoot.

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New York City FC midfielder Santiago Rodriguez (10) (on field behind line) blocks a free kick against Atlanta United during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Second Half

The second period would begin with a great chance for NYCFC in the 48th minute.

A flowing move from back to front saw Braian Cufré given the chance to cross from the left. His low, powerful, delivery made its way to Richy Ledezma at the near post, but his poked effort was saved at point-blank range by Guzan. 

NYCFC would eventually retake the lead in the 56th minute thanks to a great combination from Ledezma and Pereira that started with the American pouncing on a loose ball deep in the final third.

His smart, incisive pass, found Pereria free on the right-hand side of the penalty area, and after taking a touch to settle the ball he calmly slotted it under Guzan.  

In the 75th minute, Cushing opted to make a triple substitution when he introduced Talles Magno, Kevin O’Toole, and Matías Pellegrini in place of Ledezma, Cufré, and Pereira. 

Talles Magno quickly began to cause problems for the Atlanta backline by dropping into midfield and making the most of the space available. 

As the clock ticked toward injury time Cushing again turned to his bench to introduce Andres Jasson in place of Santiago Rodríguez – the Uruguyan completing another tireless shift on and off the ball. 

Atlanta would find an equalizer in the 95th minute after Nick Firmino headed the ball into the net from close range. That would prove to be the final act of note in the game and confirm a point for both sides.

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Next Game

New York City Football Club are in action again on Saturday as they take on Portland Timbers. The clash kicks off at 10:30pm ET on June 24.

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