Keaton Parks (55) celebrates with defender Gudmundur Thorarinsson (20) after scoring in the first half. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
ORLANDO – After a slow start Wednesday night, New York City FC had a good finish, especially thanks to Keaton Parks’ finish.
Parks tallied the equalizer for a 1-1 tie with a difficult Orlando City SC side on the road at Exploria Stadium.
Parks scored in the 43rd minute to knot things up for the visitors as City (8-7-3, 27 points) remaining in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Fourth-place Orlando (8-2-7, 31) extended its unbeaten streak to 11 games while failing to pick up a full three points at home.
“We are disappointed of course,” Orlando City defender Robin Jansson said. “We did 30 minutes good in the first half, but then New York took over the game and they created and we lost ourselves a little bit I felt.”
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Chris Mueller had given the Lions the lead in the 18th minute, beating goalkeeper Sean Johnson with a close-range header off a Ruan feed.
Parks, however, equalized past keeper Brian Rowe as he won the ball in the penalty area for his second goal in three matches.
NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila has liked what he has seen with Parks lately.
“The last 10 games he has been one of the best players on the team” he said. “He [covers] a lot of space. He always looks forward. He gets into positions. He is steady on the ball. Tight, good touches. He’s growing every day. He’s now a really good player, but he’s going to be even better if he keeps working the way he does.”
Parks said that he felt “really comfortable tonight.:
“I felt really good going into the game,” he added. “I think I took it upon myself, not so much because James [Sands] is out, or that we had a different lineup, or that Maxi [Moralez] is out, or any of that.
“Maybe we started a little slow tonight, I just took responsibility to switch that up. I wanted us to get on the front foot. I knew we were the better team, so I just wanted to be that guy to get us out of it.”
Rowe walked off the field impressed with his foes.
“I have to give credit to New York City,” he said. “They came in, they pressed us well.
“It was a tough game for us tonight. We definitely didn’t look ourselves. It’s a frustrating one, especially being at home, a place that we’ve been able to dominate teams.”