First Touch

NYCFC Tie With Atlanta United

New York City FC remains undefeated at Yankee Stadium this season after a hard-fought 1-1 tie with Atlanta United. Substitute Gabriel Pereira scored a late equalizer to earn the point.

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NYCFC 1 Atlanta United 1

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NYCFC came from behind to secure a point for the second successive game, earning a 1-1 draw at home to Atlanta United. Gabriel Pereira came off the bench to equalize, two minutes after Giorgos Giakoumakis had opened the scoring for the 10-man visitors, with Franco Ibarra sent off on the hour at Yankee Stadium.

Head Coach Nick Cushing had highlighted the importance of City’s three-game home stand and named an unchanged side from the one that salvaged a draw at New England Revolution last time out. Tayvon Gray and Malte Amundsen returned to the bench, while Kevin O’Toole missed out through injury.

On the back of six successive home wins – and 15 in our last 21 – the City Boys have sights set on building a fortress on New York soil in 2023, eager to issue a strong statement of intent. The Boys in Blue held a fine recent record against Atlanta, unbeaten in our previous six meetings, but were facing an in-form Five Stripes side, sitting second in the Eastern Conference with four wins from six – equaling their best MLS start – inspired by forward Thiago Almada.

NYCFC battle with Atlanta Utd
Santiago Rodgriguez 10 jumps over Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson 12 during the second half at Yankee Stadium Photo Mark Smith USA TODAY Sports

First Half

It was Almada who carved the game’s first openings with two teasing free-kicks, which Miles Robinson and Giorgos Giakoumakis could not direct on target. The visitors came flying out of the blocks and looked threatening on every attack. The Georgia outfit thought they had broken the deadlock on 22’ when Derrick Etienne tucked away the rebound after Luis Barraza had denied Almada – only for the offside flag to rule out the strike.

Heeding the warning, NYCFC responded, as Santiago Rodríguez fired wide of the near post, after neat link-up play with Talles Magno down the left flank. Maxime Chanot had also attempted a long-range chip, which bounced off-target, and home debutant Gabe Segal forced Brad Guzan into a smart stop with a clipped effort.

The lively Mitja Ilenič also smashed over the bar in the last real action of the half, as the two sides headed into the break goalless.

Atlanta United midfielder Amar Sejdič
Atlanta United midfielder Amar Sejdič 13 dives to head the ball against New York City FC goalkeeper Luis Barraza 1 during the second half Photo Mark Smith USA TODAY Sports

Second Half

Both sides fashioned early opportunities in the second period with Keaton Parks firing over, before Amar Sejdić drew a good save from Barraza.

The game burst into life on the hour-mark when Ibarra was dismissed for a straight red, following a VAR check for a wild challenge on James Sands, which ended the City midfielder’s evening. Alfredo Morales was brought on in his place, while Cushing also introduced Pereira and Richy Ledezma to boost the home attack.

It would be the away side who struck first, however. Barraza had done well to thwart Almada, but the Argentine unlocked the City defense with another dangerous cross to the back post where Giakoumakis was lurking to head in off the crossbar.

The Boys in Blue responded magnificently and once again, it was a substitute who produced an impact. From the restart, the hosts built from the back, and when Ilenič nodded Chanot’s floated pass into the path of Pereira, the Brazilian took a touch before curling beautifully past Guzan to level the score.

With the momentum, both sides pressed for a late winner – Rodríguez looked to sneak into Guzan’s near post, while Luiz Araújo and Juan José Purata blazed over – but despite ten minutes of frantic added time, the points would be shared, continuing City’s impressive unbeaten run on home soil.

Upcoming Match

Saturday, April 15, 2023, 7:30 p.m. ET – MLS Regular Season Matchday 8 v. Nashville SC | Citi Field; Queens, New York | Broadcast: Apple TV | Radio:

See the full MLS soccer TV schedule for this week

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