Gabriel Pereira goal forces NYCFC to a draw against Atlanta
By Leocciano Callao
New York City FC returned to Yankee Stadium looking for three points after going winless on the road in the past two weeks. A 1-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo on March 25 preceded a 1-1 stalemate in Foxborough against the New England Revolution on April Fools Day.
The Pigeons came into Saturday's match with a 2-2-2 record and sixth in the Eastern Conference. They were welcomed home by second-place Atlanta United FC (4-1-1), coming off a win against NYCFC's neighbors across the Hudson River.
After over a hundred minutes, the teams battled to another 1-1 draw.
NYCFC and Atlanta United battled to a crazy 1-1 draw
The visitors from down south came out guns blazing. Within the first three minutes, Atlanta had opportunities from a breakthrough cross and a freekick outside the box but failed to convert both. NYCFC spent time chasing to begin the game but fought back later. At the end of the half, the Pigeons owned just over half of the possession (50.2%) and outshot Atlanta 5-4 (1-0 on target). However, both teams were scoreless at the intermission.
The beginning of the second half was identical to how the first ended. The men in blue pinned the opposition against the supporters' section, keeping the action in Atlanta's half to begin.
Despite going down a man in the 62nd, Atlanta found their breakthrough in the 70th minute when a cross from Thiago Almada found Giorgos Giakoumakis' head for the goal. However, the lead was erased by Gabriel Pereira in the 72nd. A left-footed shot from outside the box got him his second goal this season.
Pereira entered the game in the 64th minute and became the difference maker New York badly needed. But Nick Cushing knew what he could bring, and that was why he was brought on.
"The Plan was always to bring him (Pereira) into the game because we know he's so dangerous. He can have those moments. As soon as he comes inside, you know he has [the] potential to put the ball in the goal. When he came on, he gave us real life. [An] excellent introduction to the game, and we just need to keep pushing him now so we can get him for 90 minutes."- Nick Cushing
At the end of the game, New York City FC out possessed Atlanta by a fraction (50.9%) and outshot them 14-9. They now have two more games at home against Nashville and Dallas before back-to-back road games against Toronto and Charlotte.