NYCFC secured a draw at home to Vancouver Whitecaps. A tight first half saw neither team able to find the net. The deadlock was broken in the 55th minute after a well-taken finish by Mounsef Bakrar. The lead was short-lived with Ryan Gauld converting a spot kick five minutes later. Despite a sustained effort to secure a go ahead goal the Boys in Blue had to settle for a point.
NYCFC 1 Vancouver Whitecaps 1
Returning to Yankee Stadium after a midweek win against CF Montréal, NYCFC were looking to secure another big three points against Canadian opposition.
Vancouver entered the game off the back of a win against Chicago Fire on Wednesday, which helped them maintain a strong 5th place position in the Western Conference.
Head Coach Nick Cushing made only one change to the team that overcame Montréal, with Santiago Rodríguez added to the XI in place of Richy Ledezma, while James Sands returned to the 18 after shaking off an injury.
The Uruguayan would be afforded first chance of the game for NYCFC inside the opening five minutes – Rodríguez unable to beat the goalkeeper with his attempt.
NYCFC started the brighter of the two sides and were able to control the ball as they tried to find gaps in the Whitecaps backline.
At the other end, Vancouver were keen to make an impact on the contest, and they got an opportunity to do so in the 14th minute when Ryan Gauld stood over a free kick.
The Scotsman was able to generate power and whip with his effort, but it did not prove challenging for Matt Freese in goal.
In the 25th minute, a slick corner routine saw a string of short passes involving Keaton Parks, Maxi Moralez, and Braian Cufré engineer a half-volley opportunity for Rodríguez. Unfortunately, he could not test the goalkeeper with his attempt.
The former Nacional man was at the heart of everything NYCFC were doing in the final third. A smart dribble down the byline allowed him to shake free of his marker and pull the ball back to Mounsef Barker. The Algerian could not adjust his feet in time, however, and the chance petered out.
Undeniably the best chance of the half for either side would arrive minutes later. A cross field pass by Thiago Martins found Cufré in space. He then played the ball into Maxi Moralez in space, who stood the ball up to the back post.
Rushing onto it was Andres Jasson with the goal at his mercy, but he could not keep his effort under the cross bar. As the half time whistle approached Maxi Moralez stung the palms of Yohei Takahoka.
The second half brought about one change for NYCFC as James Sands entered the game in the place of Keaton Parks. There would also be an early goal for the Boys in Blue after some brilliant counter attacking soccer.
The play started with James Sands who fed it quickly to Rodríguez. His driving run ended with an inch perfect pass in behind the Vancouver backline for Barker to collect and finish through the goalkeeper’s legs.
A chaotic few minutes then ensued with Vancouver earning a penalty almost instantly after James Sands was adjudged to have fouled Guald. The Scotsman converted from the spot.
NYCFC were quick to make changes after the goal with Julián Fernández replacing Jasson out wide.
Gauld also added a second on the day after ghosting in between Tayvon Gray and Thiago Martins, but his headed attempt went wide of the post. In the wake of that chance Birk Risa would depart the game in place of Alfredo Morales. The last substitute of the contest would see Ledezma replace Bakrar.
Fernández was growing into the game and a brilliant underlapping run allowed him to lay the ball off to Gray – his ferocious effort palmed away by Takahoka.
Still pushing for a winner, NYCFC then came close from a corner. A delightful delivery from Rodríguez looped up high and to the back post where ready to meet it was an unmarked Cufré. Despite powering a header with a conviction he was unable to keep it on target.
At the other end, a Vancouver breakaway allowed substitute Sergio Cordova a one on one opportunity. Despite slipping, Freese recovered brilliantly to deny the forward with a sprawling star fish save.
NYCFC battled until the end but they could not find a decisive second goal and were forced to settle for a point.