New York City Football Club welcomed Atlanta United to Yankee Stadium on Sunday hoping to secure a big three points.
Interim Head Coach Nick Cushing made three changes to the side that drew 4-4 with FC Cincinnati midweek; introducing Taty Castellanos, Santiago Rodríguez, and Anton Tinnerholm for Héber, Gabriel Pereira, and Tayvon Gray.
It was sunny skies in the Bronx and the beautiful weather brought out some scintillating soccer from both sides.
NYCFC’s first chance of the game came in the opening minutes as Maxi Moralez attempted an audacious lob after spotting Rocco Ríos Novo off his line. The effort only narrowly missing the target.
At the other end, some quick counterattacking from Atlanta allowed Luiz Araujo to slide Josef Martinez in down the right but his effort was well saved.
The back and forth exchange of chances continued and next up would be Talles Magno after a clever pass by Malte Amundsen – the Brazilian’s low effort cleared off the line by George Campbell.
In the 25th minute, a pass down the left connected with Marcelino Moreno and he cut the ball back to Josef Martinez but his effort trickled past the post.
Ten minutes later some fine work from left to right involving a combination between Tinnerholm and Rodríguez allowed the latter to hang the ball up to the penalty spot.
Meeting the ball in the air was Castellanos, but his headed effort wouldn’t stay under the crossbar.
The striker would break the deadlock three minutes later, however, a rapid breakaway lead by Talles Magno saw him slide Castellanos in for him to fire past the goalkeeper.
As the halftime whitslte approached Atlanta had a chance to equalize after forcing an overload down the right but Moreno dragged his effort wide past Johnson’s post.
The second half brought no changes for either side but an early chance for NYCFC to double their lead after another rapid breakaway.
At the heart of things this time was Tinnerholm and his overlapping run saw him get to the end line before pulling it back to Rodríguez, but his shot clipped the post and was cleared to safety.
In the 57th minute, Atlanta drew level when Martinez produced a diving header after peeling off the shoulder of his marker and connecting with a Thiago Almada cross.
A frenetic few minutes saw NYCFC retake the lead almost instantly. A flowing attack appeared to have fizzled out only for Maxi Moralez to reclaim the ball in the Atlanta penalty area and pass it wide to Talles Magno.
The Brazilian squared it back into the box and there waiting was Castellanos for his 50th MLS goal for NYCFC.
That would be Talles Magno’s last involvement as he was substituted for Gabriel Pereira in the wake of the goal to raucous applause.
Both sides were now playing out an entertaining affair and Sean Johnson was called into action to deny Luiz Araujo from distance.
Nick Cushing introduced his second sub of the afternoon when Tinnerholm departed the game in place of Tayvon Gray.
The visitors would level the scores in the 86th minute when substitute Dom Dwyer connected with a cutback inside the box to the score.
In the wake of the goal Thiago Andrade and Justin Haak entered the game in place of Rodríguez and Nicolás Acevedo.
That would be the final notable act of proceedings and confirm a 2-2 result and a point apiece for both sides.