Antonio Delamea Mlinar celebrates the equalizing goal by Revolution midfielder Xaiver Kouassi in the 86th minute. (Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
BRONX, N.Y. — Only minutes away from a home win, New York City FC once again allowed its Achilles Heel to rear its ugly head.
City gave up a devastating tying goal in the 86th minute and wound up with a disappointing 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night.
Beyond allowing Xavier Kouassi to score the equalizer in the 86th minute — a six-yard header off of Kelyn Rowe’s right-wing cross — it was confounding in another way: NYCFC (6-5-3) allowed a team that had won a road game this MLS season to walk out of Yankee Stadium with a point.
New England (4-5-5) had entered the game 0-5-1 away from home.
“We can talk about conceding the goal late,” head coach Patrick Vieira said. “We can talk about the number of chances we create, but yes, we just have to be more… We can talk about concentration. We can talk about focus, but we have been naive with the way we were defending today.”
Asked what Vieira told the team afterwards, Harrison replied, “Mostly it was just a very frustrating game. He was disappointed with the result. He wanted the win and being in a position where we could have picked up the win made him even more disappointed. At the same time though, we have to get our heads back up and we have another game on Saturday that we have to focus on now.”
Second-half substitute Miguel Camargo, who entered the match with all of 87 minutes of playing time, had given the hosts a 2-1 advantage with his first goal of the season in the 64th minute, three minutes after replacing Tommy McNamara.
Striker David Villa, who was more effective in a playmaking role sent a short pass to midfielder Maxi Moralez, who penetrated down the left side to the goal line. Moralez sent the ball across the goal mouth to a waiting Camargo, who headed it past goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
In the 16th minute, Villa demonstrated his creative ability. He motored into the left side of the penalty area past three defenders before finding an open Harrison at the far post. Harrison had an easy time tapping it in.
“Villa had just a fantastic dribble outside the 18 and drew all of the defenders towards him and then played a brilliant ball across,” Harrison said. “I couldn’t have asked any more from him really.”
Only eight minutes later, New England equalized as Kei Kamara buried a header from six yards off Lee Nguygen’s corner kick to the far post past goal keeper Sean Johnson.
Now, Saturday’s home match against the ninth-place Philadelphia Union, another team that is struggling on the road, (1-3-2) becomes a must-win situation for third-place City.