Anton Tinnerholm celebrates NYCFC’s goal, but was forced from the game with an apparent concussion. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
FRISCO, Texas — New York City FC could have taken a giant step toward clinching the MLS Eastern Conference crown Sunday, but instead settled for a point and a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas.
City scored in the opening minute, but could not hold the lead as Zdenek Ondrasek equalized in the 66th minute.
Instead of increasing its lead to six points over second-half Atlanta United (17-11-3, 54 points), NYCFC (16-5-10, 58) made it four points.
The result was muted by injuries to a pair of key players who have played vital roles in NYCFC’s recent surge to the top as the team extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2). Right fullback Anton Tinnerholm was forced from the game with an apparent concussion midway through the first half was Keaton Parks left with an apparent leg injury in the second half.
It was not immediately known how severe the injuries were and how much time either player might miss. NYCFC hosts Atlanta in a game that could decide the conference title at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night.
The teams played much more than the normal 90 minutes as 16 minutes of stoppage time was tacked on — eight in each half.
Only 40 seconds after kickoff, City struck quickly as Valentin Castellanos lifted City with a goal from close range past goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez off a Tinnerholm cross from the right flank.
FC Dallas equalized in the 66th minute after NYCFC captain Alex Ring could not clear the ball from the penalty area. Ondrasek took advantage and drilled a shot past goalkeeper Sean Johnson for a 1-1 deadlock.
Nine minutes after crashing heads with FC Dallas’ Brandon Servania, Tinnerholm left the game in the 23rd minute as Tony Rocha replaced him. Servania also was removed in the 28th minute as Paxton Pomykal came on for him.
Ebenezer Ofori replaced Parks after the later suffered his injury in the 65th minute. A minute later, the hosts scored.