For a second time in consecutive years, the Hudson River Derby tilt at Red Bull Arena had a tinge of controversy.
The fullback’s shot was mishandled by Sean Johnson, with the ball caroming off his hands and back toward the goal. The NYCFC goalkeeper chased back and dove to make the save, appearing in real time to have kept the entire ball over the goal line.
That's was even Duncan's initial thought when referee Allen Chapman went to the pitch-side monitor to check and the decision was the entire ball crossed over the line.
"I was actually saying this isn’t a goal because I thought it was on the line, but I was hoping it was," he said after the match. "It came to the result that it was a goal and I was pretty happy in the moment. We were putting everything out on the field and really deserved that goal."
There's usually not much agreement when it comes to the rivals, but NYCFC defender James Sands also thought the goal shouldn't have been awarded at first glance.
"I haven't seen a replay so I don't know what the video looked like, it didn’t look in from where I was," Sands said. "I know the ball has to go completely over the line, but again I've only seen it the one time. I don't know it seems tough to give it. It seems like if he goes to Video Review it has to be clear that it was over the line and again I haven't seen it, but it didn't seem like that from, where I was."
In his post-match virtual press conference, NYCFC coach Ronny Deila said he had yet to see a replay yet, but his staff informed him a goal shouldn't have been awarded.
"For me, if that’s happening, then I can’t understand [how] its possible. I haven’t seen it myself, but you have to be sure that ball is inside. When i saw it in the stadium, I saw it on the line," he said. "Maybe they have an angle that others don’t have, I don’t know, but if that ball is not in, then when you have all the equipment we have now, its unbelievable if that's possible."
A year ago, it was a quickly-taken throw-in by Alex Muyl, despite the fact that assistant referee Corey Rockwell had pointed his flag towards the corner flag to indicate a corner kick after a clearance by Alexander Callens. Dropping into position to defend the corner, NYCFC's defenders were left flat-footed as Cristian Casseres and Marc Rzatkowski combined to set up the winner by Danny Royer. Despite bitter protests from NYCFC, the goal stood, with referee Alan Kelly overruling Rockwell.
When reminded about last year's incident, Sands admitted it felt like a bit of deja-vu, but are larger concerns for NYCFC at this point.
"It is kind of a similar sort of thing to last year but, there are bigger problems that we got to fix right now," Sands said. "I think we have to put that particular play behind us."