Tommy McNamara delivered when he had to for NYCFC. (Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports)
McNamara headed home a rebound of a David Villa free kick in the 69th minute to equalize as City took home a well-earned point in the Major League Soccer match.
FC Dallas, which extended its undefeated streak to 14 games, remained unbeaten at 5-0-4, while NYCFC moved to 5-3-2.
“It was a very difficult team. Dallas is a good side,” McNamara said. “Their fans were very loud behind them, and they put a lot of pressure on us, but I’m proud of our effort. We worked hard for each other. We fought really hard. We were committed and we came away with a big point.”
Villa blasted a free kick off the crossbar. McNamara crashed the net and managed to head the rebound past goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez before defender Matt Hedges could clear the ball out of harm’s way.
“David hits a brilliant free kick, so chances are it was going to on frame, if not even in the goal,” McNamara said. “My thought was just in case it doesn’t go in and there’s a rebound, let me get myself in a position to make a play.”
Needless to say, NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira liked what he saw on the play.
“We had a few opportunities outside of the 18, and I knew that Miguel [Camargo] could get a good finish outside the 18 so i just wanted to get somebody who could be a bit closer to David and link in really tight spaces with David,” he said. “I just waited until the free kick, and Tommy was really smart to anticipate and score the goal. I think when you look at the way we played in the second half, Tommy, Maxi [Moralez], and Jack [Harrison] were coming inside and we gave them a lot of problems.”
Kellyn Acosta had given FC Dallas the lead in the 24th minute. Following a goalmouth scramble just outside the box, Maxi Urruti touched it towards Acosta who fired low to the side of goalkeeper Sean Johnson for his third goal of the campaign.
“I was the third runner into the box,” Acosta said. “I was fortunate that the ball just bounced to me but I put myself in a good spot to be able to react to the ball. I just put it in. Oscar [Pareja, the coach] always tell us to put it on frame and be clinical. I was lucky to get the ball in a good spot and I put it in.”
Despite NYCFC’s domination of the possession battle, the hosts looked the more dangerous side in the attacking third throughout the first half but Villa and Maxime Chanot did have a couple of half chances in the final seconds before the half.
Those opportunities seemed to imbue Vieira’s men with a confidence they took into the second half as the pressing of Villa and Rodney Wallace almost brought around the equalizer. They forced Gonzalez into a scuffed clearance that almost flew into his own net.
FC Dallas came close to doubling its advantage in the 53rd minute if not for a world class save from Johnson, who somehow fingertipped Urruti’s stinging drive onto the underside of the crossbar.
At the other end, Harrison was inches away from equalizing with an excellent low left-footed shot in the 62nd minute.
Johnson was once again the hero a few minutes later, making a stunning save to deny Tesho Akindele, who had broken clear.
“It’s hard to come and say ‘you know what, in my opinion, we really deserved this game,’ ” Pareja said. “We were a much better team and we should be proud because we played against one of the best teams in the league. And we did a fantastic job. I want to praise the group of players, who from the first minute, they gave all they had and made the game very entertaining for the people who came. And I also have to praise and express all the respect I have for New York City and the way they challenged us as well.“