|Khiry Shelton celebrates his late goal. USA Today Sports.|
New York City Football Club earned a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium in a battle of the two of MLS' best teams.
Dallas leads the Western Conference, and has the most points in the MLS, 52, with a record of 15-7-8.
NYCFC is in second place in the East, with 45 points (12-9-9), just one point behind Toronto for the top spot. Toronto hosts the Red Bulls, who are in third with 44 points, in a pivotal matchup on Sunday afternoon.
NYCFC got on the board early, as Tommy McNamara scored in the eighth minute. It was McNamara's fifth goal of the season. Jack Harrison received a cross from Ronald Matarrita and quickly played into the box to McNamara, who turned and scored inside the far post from eight yards out.
FC Dallas tied it in the 20th minute when Maximiliano Urruti put his shot off the underside of the crossbar and in for his eighth goal of the year.
NYCFC's Frank Lampard took a tough hit in the 42nd minute, and left the game.
In the second half, Dallas took a 2-1 lead in the 52nd minute when Mauro Rosales received a pass along the edge of the 18-yard box and quickly played it to Michael Barrios, who scored his ninth goal of the season.
It stayed that way until the 78th minute, when Khiry Shelton, who came on as a substitute in the 63rd minute, got a tremendous feed from Jack Harrison at the top of the box and he headed it in to tie the game at 2.
This gave Harrison a pair of assists on the night, his first multi-assist game of his career. He previously registered two points when he had a gaol and an assist in a 2-0 win over the Red Bulls on July 3.
It was Shelton's third goal of the season, and the 100th goal for the NYCFC franchise.
NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira said of the importance of Harrison and Shelton, “They are quite really important players for us and we felt they played big roles tonight. Jack had it really tough and really difficult. He played a lot against a really nice player. He was very tough and very strong and I think from that game Jack learned a lot today and that he continues to improve himself and become a better player. We have some really young and talented players in our football club. It’s important for them to keep working hard when they get a chance to play and what is important is that they continue to improve every day, every week, every month.”
In the 90th minute, Dallas' Tesho Akindale came in on a breakaway, and he floated it by NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders, and incredibly, it hit the right post.
Three minutes later, Steven Mendoza had a breakaway of his own, and he missed the right post by a few feet. The game was called soon after that play.
NYCFC is now 5-0-1 in their last six games at Yankee Stadium.
Vieira said of the level of play on the pitch, “I think today we showed a lot of character because it was a really tough game for us and we created a few chances and we had a chance of course to win it at the end, but to lose it as well. I think the people who were at the stadium and in front of the TV really enjoyed the game because there was a lot of tempo and it was a good game of football.”
McNamara said of the feel of the game, “It feels like a draw. You know they’re really good team and they played well. They’re in first place for the Supporter’s Shield for a reason. I thought it was a really good game. We both had chances at the end of the game to come out with three points. I thought the draw was fair for both teams."
Vieira said of FC Dallas' level of play, “Yeah I think they were a good team. They made it really difficult for us. I watched the last three games that they played and there’s no difference from the one they played today. I think this is one of the best, if not the best team in the league.”
Andrea Pirlo said of the game, "“It was a tough game, it was very exciting. We were playing a very tough team that is at the top of the standings. I think it was a fair result for us.”
Harrison said of tonight's game and NYCFC's response to a tough loss last weekend in New England, “We knew it was a tough game going into it, we knew they were a great side. It is a bit disappointing we couldn’t get the three points we wanted that badly today, but we’ll come away with one point rather than none. It’s going to be tight these next couple weeks in terms of points so it will be a crucial point for us coming up.”