Things have hardly gone as planned for New York City FC in its inaugural season, but the club earned a much needed point Saturday night.
David Villa's 45th-minute penalty kick tied the score for NYC FC in its 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo in front of 26,211 fans at Yankee Stadium.
The goal was Villa's third of the season for New York City (1-7-5), which earned its eighth point. The club came into the match with both the league's worst record and lowest goal differential (minus-7).
The hope for NYC FC is that a healthy Villa can kick-start a struggling offense, which came into the game averaging a league-low 0.75 goals per game. The former Barcelona striker was the team's best player. He had seven total shots, four of them on target.
Houston opened the scoring in the 16th minute when David Horst headed a corner to the feet of Will Bruin, who fired a shot that gave Houston (4-5-5) the lead.
NYC FC, which did not look threatening outside of a second-minute Villa shot in the box that went wide of the far post, got its chance to equalize at the end of the first half. Houston's Paul Rodriguez handled the ball inside his own penalty area, earning a penalty kick to NYC FC, which Villa converted.
Houston created the first chance of the second half in the 56th minute when Bruin headed a cross from the right flank directly at goalie Josh Saunders. The Dynamo had another chance to double its lead in the 66th minute when Raul Rodriguez's shot from outside the area was slowed by a deflection, creating a manageable save for Saunders
At the other end, NYC FC had a number of attempts to take the lead. In the 75th minute, Villa got past his defender inside in the box, but shot straight at Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric. Deric made two more saves, on Andrew Jacobson's 77th-minute shot and Villa's 84th-minute effort.
Deric was again called upon in the 88th minute, diving across the goal line to deny Jeb Brovsky's header from 8 yards out.
In stoppage time, an unmarked Brovsky received a cross inside the 6-yard box, but his effort went just wide of the far post.
Houston had the advantage in total shots 15-13 with NYC FC putting seven on target, with four for the Dynamo.
NYC FC's struggles in finishing continued, as NYC FC came into the game ranked seventh in the 20-team league in total shots per game (13.0).