NYCFC traveled to the Windy City looking to extend a seven-match unbeaten streak and make it four consecutive road wins.
Dome Torrent made one change to the lineup which started the 2-0 win at LA Galaxy last time out, bringing in Alexandru Mitriță for Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who started the match as a substitute.
Chicago made the brighter start to the match and were on top for long stretches of the first period, although clear chances to score were at a premium.
Despite soaking up pressure, it was NYCFC who had the game’s first meaningful opportunity on 11’, when Maxi Moralez’s exquisite first touch opened up the final third. The Argentine picked out Héber who was through on goal, and did everything right, but was unfortunate to see his chipped shot come back off the crossbar.
The Fire were asking the majority of the questions in the first period and took the lead with 28’ on the scoreboard courtesy of a goal from C.J. Sapong. The goal was awarded only after video review and was City’s first away concession in more than 270 minutes of play.
However, Dome Torrent’s men were able to recover and hit back just before the half-time break, thanks to Mitriță.
The Romanian let rip with an unstoppable drive from distance to level the match five minutes before the interval, for his third goal in MLS.
After the break, City were much-improved from the first half and more like the side which had won its last three road assignments without conceding.
For a moment, it looked like NYCFC had been awarded a penalty early in the second half after Mitriță was tripped up, but after another lengthy video review. The call once again went against the away team, with the referee adjudging that the contact was outside of the area.
City were indebted to their goalkeeper Sean Johnson for maintaining parity with 15’ to go after he made a strong sprawling save with his foot on his return to his former home.
Torrent used all three substitutes available to him down the back straight, bringing in Taty Castellanos, Ebenezer Ofori and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi to try and find the winning goal, but both teams would have to be content with a point.
On the balance of play, it was probably the fair result and one that takes NYCFC’s undefeated streak to eight games – the longest such singular season streak in Club history.
NYCFC HEAD COACH DOMÈNEC TORRENT
Thoughts on the game…
“They deserved, in the first half, to win the game. I think in the second half we played much better than them, that’s in my opinion. It’s a fair result for both but maybe, it’s not about the result. Maybe we played the worst in [a game]…even worse than against Toronto. But after that we reacted really well. I am very happy with the players because I said to them, ‘We reacted really well.’ They worked well, and when you play much better positionally, it’s about that. It’s not about you not wanting to fight. Every single goal is because you are better on the pitch.”
On whether the break played a factor in the result…
“No, I don’t think so. Because I know we were in the best form before the break but it is early in the season…But maybe the temperature changed. Maybe it is that. Maybe it’s not the same when you play at 2 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. . Maybe it’s that. Sometimes this happens. The reason why they played much better positionally than us, I had to change the formation. If not, the game was for Chicago. Everybody knows they played much better. It’s not an excuse about the temperature, about the grass, the first one is about they played much better than us. We had to change quickly.”
On switch in formations…
“[In the opening part of the game] they played much better than us positionally… that’s the reason why we changed with four in the back and three in the middle because they fixed our wingbacks…It was impossible for Anton and Mata going against a fullback. That’s the reason why I changed it to 4-3-3 because Tony and Jimmy can go against the fullbacks.”
NYCFC FORWARD ALEXANDRU MITRIȚĂ
On scoring against the run of play..
“We didn’t start very good but after 30 minutes we started to play well. After we scored and in the second half we played good.”
On starting off slow..
“I don’t know, maybe it was the heat. Maybe that was the problem. After 30 minutes, we played good and we continued to our game, and we needed points.”
On getting the start today…
“We have a good team, we came here to win the championship this year, it’s a good level. That’s why I came here to MLS. It’s a good level for me to play and we have a good team.”
On playing well on the road…
“We fight game by game. Whether home or away, it’s important to play how we train, and it’s important to take points however we can.”
NYCFC MIDFIELDER TONY ROCHA
On the match…
“I think we are happy we came away with a point. Obviously we want to come away with three, but I think playing away from home it’s always harder so coming away with a point I think we’re happy.”
On earning the start today…
“I am confident going into games even if I am not playing, just going and training and just help whomever is playing in front of me. Giving me the opportunity today definitely makes me confident.”
On the forward momentum of the team…
“With the formation we are playing in we’ve become more confident in the more games that we have played, and like you said, we have only lost one game so we are just taking it game by game, and hopefully we turn these ties into wins.”
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