Two Blown Leads Leave NYCFC Fit To Be Tied

NYCFC, MLS, soccer, Mitriță
Alexandru Mitriță scored his first MLS goal against LAFC. Photo: Vincent Carchietta, USA Today Sports

Three games into the season and New York City FC has yet to lose a match. The only catch is that NYCFC have also yet to win a game.

On Sunday in the Bronx, NYCFC twice lost one-goal leads and played LAFC to a 2-2 draw.

Newcomer Alexandru Mitriță scored his first Major League Soccer goal in the 39th minute off of a feed from Maxi Moralez. The Romanian counter-attacked down the right side of the LA defense, and after a cut back in the box, finished with a strong right foot shot.

Two minutes later, Mitriță nearly extended New York City’s lead. But his set-piece kick from just outside the LAFC box hit the crossbar.

But that lead would last only four minutes.  

In the 43rd minute, the visitors would level the match. Carlos Vela took a feed from Latif Blessing and beat NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson with a well-placed left foot.

In the second half, Alex Ring would put the home side ahead with a goal in the 62nd minute. But once again LAFC would get even. In the 76th minute, Vela would score his second of the match as he converted from the spot. The penalty was awarded after Ben Sweat fouled Blessing in the box.

Both teams had opportunities through the final 15 minutes but neither could find the game-winner.

Doménec Torrent, NYCFC’s head coach, lamented his team’s inability to hold both its leads on Sunday.

“In the first half when we were able to score in the last five minutes (of the first half) we have to take control of the game and keep the ball,” he said. “And we made a mistake. We lose the ball and they scored. Even the top teams when they win, the first thing is to keep control and play with confidence.”

Perhaps the best player on the pitch for New York City was Mitriță. In addition to his first-half goal, he had seven shots and hit the crossbar off a set piece.

“Mitriță is a top player for us,” the head coach said. “He’s a good player, that is the reason why the club decided to sign this player. I’m sure [he will grow] the next two or three games because it’s not easy for him right here, right now, he’s not 100 percent fit. But you know when he has the ball we are better.”

For his part, Mitriță said while the result was disappointing, he felt good scoring his first goal at home.

“After three games I’m better, but I need a bit more time to be 100 percent,” he said. “But I have a lot of games left to get to 100 percent.”

New York City will be back in action on March 29, when the team travels north of the border to meet Toronto FC. Game time is 8 p.m.