Jesus Medina scored NYCFC’s lone goal. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
BRONX – Within a three-minute span Saturday afternoon, New York City FC’s hopes went from taking a two-goal lead to settling for a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium.
The controversial play occurred in the 71st minute.
With Jesus Medina standing with his back to the goal, Toronto FC goalkeeper Bono punted the ball from his penalty area. Medina jumped as the ball bounded off his head and into the Toronto FC goal. Apparently, referee David Gantar blew his whistle before the ball entered the net, much to the chagrin of the host side.
Still clinging to a 1-0 lead, NYCFC conceded in the 74th minute as former NYCFC forward Patrick Mullins set up Jacob Shaffelburg for his first goal of the season from 10 yards past goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
NYCFC, which could have gone into the undisputed Eastern Conference lead on a temporary basis with the three points, moved to 2-1-2 and eight points while Toronto FC (5 points) moved to 1-2-2.
The one point could have come at a great cost to NYCFC as center backs Alex Callens and Maxime Chanot were forced from the match with apparent injuries.
Medina lifted the hosts into the lead in the 53rd minute.
Midfielder Gudmundur Thórarinsson ripped a 30-yard, left-footed free kick from the left side that took a bounce close to the net and hit goalkeeper Alex Bono in the face. Bono, however, but could not gather in the bal. An onrushing Medina swept in and slipped it home from five yards for a 1-0 lead. He is tied with Taty Castellanos for the team goal-scoring lead.
Toronto FC head coach Chris Armas, a Brentwood, N.Y. native, and his team played in the metropolitan area for the second week in a row. On Saturday, May 8 the Reds dropped a 2-0 decision to the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Armas was the Red Bulls head coach until he was axed late in the 2020 season.
Former Red Bulls left back Kemar Lawrence, whom Toronto FC signed last week, started at midfield.