Alexandru Mitrita celebates his first goal for NYCFC. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
BRONX — Three games, three ties, three points.
Not exactly the way New York City FC had expected to start this Major League Soccer season.
Adding insult to injury, City lost the lead not once, but twice in what turned into an entertaining 2-2 draw with the Los Angeles Football Club at Yankee Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Under Dome Torrent’s first full season as head coach, City began the year with a 2-2 deadlock at Orlando City SC two weeks ago and then with a scoreless home draw with D.C. United last week.
The result left NYCFC with a 0-0-3 mark and three points, the first time the club started the season with three consecutive draws. LAFC (7 points) moved to 2-0-1.
“The result I know is not good,” Torrent said. “When you draw the game at home, it’s not a good result for us. But if you ask me about the performance, I think we played well. It was the best game for now that we played so far this season. By far.”
In an exciting first half that had plenty of end-to-end action, City drew first blood in the 39th minute on a fantastic individual effort by Alexandru Mitrita after a Maxi Moralez pass. The Romanian international midfielder motored down the left side unimpeded, made a quick move in front of three LAFC players on the left side of the net and powered a shot into the upper right corner for his first MLS goal.
Feeling his oats, Mitrita almost doubled his pleasure and scoring three minutes later as he slammed a shot off the crossbar.
LAFC, however, countered in the 43rd minute as the visitors equalized after a NYCFC midfield turnover. Latif Blessing fed an onrushing Carlos Vela, who beat goalkeeper Sean Johnson from the right side for a 1-1 deadlock.
Vela celebrated his goal in Yankee Stadium style, mimicking a batter hitting the ball out of the park and either saluting or watching his imaginary drive go, going, going, gone.
Captain Alexander Ring got on the scoresheet for the second time in three games by lifting NYCFC to a 2-1 in the 62nd minute, scoring pass keeper Tyler Miller from seven yards on the left side off a pass from second-half substitute Ben Sweat.
LAFC equalized again in the 76th minute as Vela tallied his second goal of the afternoon on a penalty kick after Sweat tripped Blessing in the box. The Mexican international drilled his attempt to the lower left corner as Johnson dove in the opposite direction.