Somebody had to do it. One team was going to be put in the unenviable position of being opposition at Allianz Field for the first time, as Minnesota United played their much-anticipated first match in their new stadium.
NYCFC happened to be that team on Saturday.
The Loons and NYCFC played out an enthralling 3-3 draw, splitting the points as the world was introduced to Allianz Field. Dome Torrent's side are still without a win in 2019, with five draws and a loss after six matches.
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Still, while not the win the club desired, it was a performance the players can be proud of, fighting back from deficits of 1-0 and 3-2 to earn a point in a hostile environment with an electric crowd.
“I’m very proud of my players because they fought until the last moment. It’s not easy to play here,” Torrent said. “They have a physical team. And I think, especially the second half, we played much better than them. But after that, the result is the result. It was 3-3. One point is not enough for us but I said to them if you’re able to play like that in D.C. and other stadiums you’ll be able to get the points.”
Homegrown midfielder James Sands, who has started all six of NYCFC's matches this season, agreed with his manager that it was a strong performance from the squad.
“Honestly I think this was the best game we played offensively and we had the three goals to show for it. But I think we really controlled most of it. It was just unfortunate we conceded three times,” Sands said. “This was the closest we are to reaching our potential.”
Valentin Castellanos opened the scoring for NYCFC before Tajouri-Shradi's brace, two players Torrent was particularly proud of.
“It’s the first game that what happened in training sessions, happened in the field. And it’s not about the goals,” Torrent said about the play of Tajouri-Shradi and Castellanos. “When we have the ball, they played amazing. They scored but they also played really well. Both [Tajouri-Shradi and Castellanos]."
NYCFC will continue to search for their first win of 2019 on Sunday against D.C. United (4 pm ET | ESPN in US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada).