NYCFC Nab Well Earned Point In Chilly Minnesota

New York City’s Valentin Castellanos (11) and Minnesota United defender Ike Opara (3) pursue a loose ball. Photo: David Berding-USA Today Sports

New York City FC is still in search of its first win of the 2019 season, but in its 3-3 draw on Saturday against Minnesota United FC, the team showed a high level of grit and determination.

Fans at the first match in Allianz Stadium history were treated to a wild first 45 minutes as the teams combined for five goals in the first 32 minutes.

Minnesota took the lead in the 13th minute when Osvaldo Alonso scored the first goal in Allianz Stadium history. Three minutes later, New York City’s Valentin Castellanos leveled the match and in the 18th minute, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi would give the visitors the lead.

However, the Loons would level the match when Angelo Rodriguez would score just two minutes later.

In the 32nd minute, NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson would badly misplay a backpass that would end in an own goal and a 3-2 lead for Minnesota, which they took to the half.

“Going back to the play, I think there’s no point in making excuses,” the NYCFC keeper said. “Mistakes happen but it’s about responding to it and the boys in front of me responded in a big way. Everybody assured me that they had my back today and we were able to come back with a point.”

Following the goal, Johnson immediately received support from teammates and the entire squad appeared to quickly put the moment behind them.

“No one wants to go through that, but it’s going to happen to all of us at some point,” said James Sands, NYCFC’s midfielder. “I thought he played great the rest of the game.”

New York City came out of the locker room in the second half a more inspired side and took the play to Minnesota. The only goal of the second 45 came in the 64th minute when Tajouri-Shradi would connect on a set piece from the left side of the Loons goal. The shot would find its way past the wall and tuck inside the far post.

“I think from front to back, everybody that came on the pitch, I think the effort was there, we played a confident game, in moments we weren’t scared to make mistakes,” Johnson said. “I think having that confidence over the course of 90 minutes is what’s going to enable us to get over that hump.”