The second half sparked to life, starting with Jesus Medina giving NYCFC a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute when Alex Bono spilled a bouncing free kick from Gudmundur Thorarinsson. TFC’s goalkeeper couldn’t corral the dead-ball shot, and the Paraguayan attacker cleaned up with an easy finish.
But Toronto didn’t buckle and substitute Jacob Shaffelburg fired home an equalizer in the 74th minute shortly after entering the match for DP winger Yeferson Soteldo. Shaffelburg made it 1-1 with a left-footed shot to the far side, collecting a feed from Patrick Mullins after the striker combined with recently-signed forward Dom Dwyer.
NYCFC thought they doubled their advantage in the 71st minute, as Bono’s punt bounced off the back of Medina’s head and into Toronto’s goal. That would’ve given the hosts a 2-0 lead, though Medina was whistled for a foul for impeding the attempted clearance.
Final-third quality was lacking in the first half, yet Soteldo managed a strong effort from atop the box in the 11th minute that Sean Johnson saved down to his left. And in the 41st minute, Valentin Castellanos couldn’t steer home a near-range shot after Keaton Parks picked out NYCFC’s striker with a headed pass.
Injury concerns emerged along NYCFC’s backline due to center backs Alexander Callens and Maxime Chanot both exiting prematurely with apparent muscular issues. The Cityzens also began without injured right back Anton Tinnerholm, leading to homegrown winger Andres Jasson getting an unexpected start in defense.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Three points were within grasp for NYCFC, but they couldn’t put a second goal away. That allowed Toronto to earn four of six points this week, following Chris Armas' team beating Columbus SC last Wednesday. These Eastern Conference sides project as ones that’ll battle for Audi MLS Cup Playoff spots, so maybe this was a prelude to what comes later in the fall.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: There’s some controversy around the buildup to Jacob Shaffelburg’s equalizer, especially with Dom Dwyer knocking down center back James Sands. But the goal stood, resulting in a valuable road draw for Toronto.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Jesus Medina’s goal was opportunistic, giving him four tallies on the year. And with Maxi Moralez not featuring, he shouldered the creative burden quite well.