New York City FC midfielder Gabriel Pereira whips his shirt off in a goal celebration. (Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

The last thing New York City FC needs to do is self-inflicted wounds, but that was exactly what the Cityzens did to themselves in their 1-1 home draw with FC Cincinnati on Wednesday.

A horrendous and inexcusable own goal by Thiago Martins started City on the way to its fourth consecutive game without a win, at Citi Field in Queens.

An optimist might say that the Cityzens stopped the bleeding just a bit, at least for one night.

A pessimist might say NYCFC gave up points again at home during a horrid stretch for the reigning MLS Cup champions.

The Cityzens finished the game with 10 players after Martins, who endured a nightmare evening, was red carded for fouling on a serious goal-scoring opportunity in the 76th minute. To make matters worse, Martins was the culprit on the own goal.

A tie and one point was much better than a loss, but NYCFC (13-10-7, 46) remained in third place in the MLS Eastern Conference as it continued to give away points, whether it has been on the road or at home. The result increased its winless streak to four games (0-3-1). Cincy (9-8-12, 39) moved past the New England Revolution into seventh place.

What made the result even more frustrating for the hosts was that they enjoyed a 65.3 percent possession advantage and outshot FC Cincy by a 22-4 margin.

Yet, one of their Achilles Heels’ shone brightly – the lack of a finishing touch on a consistent basis.

The Cityzens dodged a bullet in the 16th minute when center back Alex Callens fouled Brandon Vazquez in the penalty area. Vasquez, however, was just offside, negating whatever transpired after his blooper reel of an own goal.

Martins had the ball on the right flank some 40 yards out in the 22nd minute and decided to attempt an ill-advised back pass to goalkeeper Sean Johnson. There was one slight problem. Johnson was well of goal and rushed back in vain to stop the ball from rolling into his net as FC Cincy received a gift on a silver platter and a 1-0 lead.

It appeared Johnson came out of the net to console Martins, putting his right arm around him while talking to his defender.

City equalized in the 42nd minute. Gabriel Pereira headed in Tayvon Gray’s short cross from the right side from five yards for a 1-1 halftime deadlock. Pereira took his shirt off in celebration as he was slapped with a yellow card for excessive celebration.

Heber came close to snapping the tie as he blasted a shot from distance off the crossbar in the 72nd minute.

Martins’ nightmare night continued in the 76th minute when he was given his marching orders several minutes after he, as the last man on defense, fouled Sergio Santos just outside the penalty area.

As it turns out, Martins won’t be the only NYCFC player who will miss Saturday’s match at Charlotte FC. Three minutes into second-half stoppage time, center back Maxime Chanot was awarded a yellow card, which meant he will sit out that match due to yellow-card accumulation.