New York City FC earned its first road win on Saturday night, handing the Union their second loss in five games. This loss, like the last, was decided in the dying moments of the game as the opposition completed their comeback.
Patrick Mullins capped the rally in the 87th minute, as his shot deflected off Richie Marquez's leg and into the net.
Though Mullins' strike made history for New York's second club, Thomas McNamara's goal will be the one remembered when this game is mentioned. The second-year midfielder, only in the starting eleven due to Mix Diskerud's international call-up, sent in a banana shot from 30 yards out, finding the top corner.
The goal came just minutes after CJ Sapong's opener. In the 46th minute, Sebastien Le Toux's corner-kick service fell to Sapong, who slotted it home from the middle of the 18-yard box. The goal, Sapong's fourth, makes him the team's sole leader in goals despite only playing 469 minutes thus far.
"As a forward, you always want to score goals, and I'm just confident right now," Sapong said after the match. "Luck has been on my side and my teammates have been putting the ball in the right position for me to capitalize."
Though the result looks ugly on paper--a home loss to a side that hadn't won since mid-March--the performance wasn't too discouraging.
"I actually think that this was a good game, but one where we're disappointed to leave with no points," Curtin said. "I think we pushed the game well."
The Union did look like the more dangerous team for much of the game, bombarding NYCFC's box with cross after cross. Fabinho and Sheanon Williams, starting together for the fourth straight game, had great games in the attacking half and were largely responsible for the Union's activity on the wings. Despite the volume of open play crosses, NYCFC failed to concede on any of them.
"Even the [crosses] where we did have contact, they would deflect off somebody, or they would make a last-ditch slide tackle, or the goalkeeper would make a good save," Curtin said, the frustration in his voice apparent.
In all, New York City FC amassed a staggering 54 clearances, a season-high for Union opponents. It was just that kind of night for the boys in blue, who were unable to unlock NYCFC's defense just days after carving up Columbus for two taps-in.
While the offense failed to capitalize on its myriad opportunities, Brian Carroll, Vincent Nogueira, and Brian Sylvestre, in addition to Fabinho and Williams, had impressive outings.
Curtin said that Carroll played one of the best games he's seen him play, and I don't think that statement elicits any arguments. The 33-year-old was a disruptive force in the midfield yet again, jumping passing lanes and straight-up pickpocketing NYCFC midfielders. Additionally, he only misplaced five passes, making for his most complete game of 2015. Carroll's excellence on the defensive side of the ball freed up Vincent Nogueira to pass to his heart's content. This midfield partnership continues to improve, and its success will make it hard for Curtin to dissolve.
Loanee Brian Sylvestre had a strong showing, conceding only to a Goal of the Week strike and an unlucky deflection. His 38th-minute stoning of Sebastian Velazquez kept his side from entering the half down a goal.
With the good performances come the bad, as Andrew Wenger's poor run of form continued.
"He's frustrated," Curtin said. "He wants to get a goal and get going but it's taking him some time."
The Union's next league game comes in Los Angeles two weeks from now, with a friendly and a U.S. Open Cup match to be played in the meantime.