Nothing like chasing a two-goal deficit while playing a man down to get a team's blood flowing.
Faced with those near insurmountable odds, New York City FC rallied from that hole and recorded a dramatic 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire before a crowd of 23,315 at Yankee Stadium last night.
Khiry Shelton converted a David Villa feed a minute into second-half stoppage time to snap one streak -- a four-game losing skid -- and extend the hosts' winless streak to nine games.
Still, a point was very valuable to the expansion team, which has not won a match since a 2-0 victory in its home opener on March 15.
"It's one of the most special moments of my coaching career, to be honest," a relieved NYC FC coach Jason Kreis said.
He has said the team needs wins and three points, but he'll take the point.
"I never imagined a scenario like this," he said. "A point was very, very good for us . . . More important than the point, hopefully we get some momentum."
It also gave Kreis some optimism that his team could turn around what has been a disappointing and dreadful first season.
"I'm very hopeful that the tie is sort of a landmark, that they can get results if they're willing to do whatever it takes," he said.
If you didn't know any better, you would have thought the Fire was the host team as it attacked so much in the first half, outshooting NYC FC by an astounding 14-5 margin.
That paid off in a pair of goals within a 13-minute span in the opening half.
First, an unmarked Razvan Cocis headed in a Shaun Maloney free kick from 12 yards past goalkeeper Josh Saunders in the 14th minute. Life went from bad to worse for NYC FC in the 27th minute as rookie defender RJ Allen was red-carded for tackling David Accam in the penalty area and the Fire was awarded a penalty kick. Jeff Larentowicz converted for a 2-0 advantage.
Mehdi Ballouchy made the score more respectable by the halftime break, slotting home a rebound of a Villa shot past goalkeeper Sean Johnson a minute into stoppage time.
"Goals can [come] at very critical times," Kreis said. "If we do not get that goal we would have had a different feeling, a different air in the locker room."