Taty Castellanos scored in NYCFC’s big comeback. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
This was one crazy game.
New York City FC overcame a two-goal deficit with four second-half goals en route to a wild 5-4 victory over Toronto FC at Citi Field on Sunday.
While turning a two-goal deficit in a win for the first time in its eight year history, NYCFC walked off Citi Field with only 10 players after a late red card. As it turned out, the hosts’ five goals were sandwiched around two Toronto goals at the start of the match and another pair at the very end.
“That says something about the mentality in the team, the belief and the talent,” head coach Ronny Deila said.
The result lifted City (10 points) to 3-3-1 while Toronto (11) dropped to 3-3-2.
NYCFC has scored 11 goals in its last two matches.
“Now we’re firing on all cylinders,” Deila said.
“We attacked from the first minute to the last minute. We continued to create chances, and we didn’t lose our temper, concentration or discipline. We just kept playing our game.”
Citi Field became the fifth stadium City has called home today, joining Banc of California Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Rentschler Field and Red Bull Arena as venues.
“The field itself is very similar in size, and the crowd was amazing,” midfielder Keaton Parks said. “They brought incredible energy with them today. Citi Field definitely feels more compact, the fans are a lot closer to the field. But overall the energy was great, it feels very similar to Yankee Stadium and I think that helped us score so many goals today. Unbelievable first game for us here at Citi Field, and we’re excited to come back.”
Despite being outplayed in the opening 45 minutes, the Canadian side walked into the locker room thanks to a pair of goals by Jesus Jimenez in the 13th and 27th minutes against goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Taty Castellanos halved the deficit in the 38th minute, beating keeper Alex Bono.
“We all know that we started slow today, letting up two goals pretty early on,” Parks said. “But the energy that we finished the first half with was what we brought into the locker room and brought back onto the field for the second half. We knew we’re a better team. We could have dominated the game from the start if we had brought the energy. But we started off slow and we never worried, we kept playing our soccer and brought the energy and it paid off.”
The Cityzens turned the game around by striking for three goals within a nine-minute span early in the final half.
Thiago Andrade equalized four minutes into the second half before Santi Rodriguez, off a Castellanos assist lifted the hosts into a lead they never relinquished in the 54th minute.
Parks gave City some breathing room in the 58th minute before Gabriel Pereira, only moments after replacing Andrade, tallied his first goal for the club for its fifth goal off a Talles Magno assist.
Toronto finally woke up in the second part of the final half as the visitors found the net on Deandre Kerr’s close-range head off Alejandro Pozuelo’s corner kick in the 86th minute.
NYCFC played the final minute of regulation and stoppage time with 10 men after Alfredo Morales was awarded his second yellow card in the 89th minute.
A minute later, Michael Bradley headed home Pozuelo’s free kick to pull Toronto within a goal.
“I’m not very worried about the defense,” Deila said. “It’s the most easy thing to do when it’s the defense, and the offense is always the hardest. We don’t concede a ton, maybe they had five chances. That’s a couple too much.”
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