New York City FC rallied from a first-half deficit, and an early sending-off, to battle the Philadelphia Union to a 1-1 draw on Decision Day at Yankee Stadium, earning a home game during Round One of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.

In the 53rd minute, Taty Castellanos leveled for NYCFC, which will host Atlanta United in Round One in the Eastern Conference's 4 vs. 5 matchup, and maintained his lead in the Golden Boot presented by Audi race. The Argentine talisman latched onto a floated Maxi Moralez ball into the box and powered his header over Olivier Mbaizo and inside the far post.

Castellanos’ 19th goal of the season canceled out the 12th of the campaign by Kacper Przybylko, who scored for Philly, which host the New York Red Bulls in the East's 2 vs. 7 showdown, in the 26th minute. After splitting a pair of defenders and missing on the first ball into the box by Mbaizo, Przybylko slammed in from close range after Leon Flach recovered the initial cross and cut it back in front of the net from the endline.

NYCFC protested that Przybylko was in an offside position, but referee Guido Gonzales Jr. ruled it was a good goal.

The goal came five minutes after Gedion Zelalem was sent off on a straight red card following Video Review for violent conduct on a reckless challenge on Flach after Gonzales Jr. initially flashed a yellow card.

Even though a draw was enough to earn a top-four spot in the Eastern Conference, NYCFC pushed for all three points and came close on the hour mark when Jesus Medina beat Jakob Glesnes to a ball in the box and forced Andre Blake to make a reactionary save.

With hopes of finishing second in the East, the Union pressed for the winner late, but Jamiro Monteiro was twice denied by Sean Johnson. As it turned out, Nashville SC's 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls was enough for Philly to end the regular season as the No. 2 seed and another playoff meeting with the Red Bulls.

Goals 

  • 26’ — PHI — Kacper Przybylko | WATCH
  • 53’ — NYC — Taty Castellanos | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: An early sending-off and an early deficit didn’t matter for NYCFC, who enter the postseason as one of the most dangerous teams in the dance after ending the regular season unbeaten in their last five matches. As a result, the Cityzens will take on Atlanta United in the Bronx in Round One. The Union’s struggles at Yankee Stadium continue, but it was mission accomplished as Philadelphia finished second and get the rival New York Red Bulls in Round One at Subaru Park.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Was this the goal to clinch the Golden Boot for Castellanos? It certainly embodied the season he had, picking himself up off the ground, fighting for positioning and willing the equalizer inside the far post.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: It was a golden performance from Castellanos, who ends the regular season with 19 goals and 8 assists.

Next Up 

  • NYC: vs. Atlanta United, Eastern Conference Round One, Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs
  • PHI: vs. New York Red Bulls, Eastern Conference Round One, Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs