New York City did not exactly start a three-game homestand on the right foot Wednesday night.
Playing the first of two games against two teams that have struggled on the road this MLS season, City coughed up the lead and was forced to settle for a 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium.
Xavier Kouassi’s close-range header in the 86th minute off Kelyn Rowe’s right-wing cross knotted things up and left NYCFC a bewildered side as it left valuable points on the table.
The Revs (4-5-5 overall) entered the match with a 0-5-1 road mark.
“You can’t be conceding the ball late,” City coach Patrick Vieira said. “We can talk about concentration. We can talk about focus. If you scored the chances that you create, the game would be different. We were really naive the way we were defending today. We have to get back to our basics of defending, especially when the ball is in our box.”
Now, Saturday’s home match against the ninth-place Philadelphia Union (1-3-2 away) becomes a must-win situation for third-place City (6-5-3).
NYCFC thought it had wrapped up the game in the 64th minute when second-half substitute Miguel Camargo gave the hosts a 2-1 lead with his first goal of the season, only three minutes after replacing Tommy McNamara.
David Villa sent a short pass to Maxi Moralez, who penetrated down the left side. Moralez lofted the ball across the goal mouth to the waiting Camargo, who nodded it home past goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
Villa produced some magic of his own in the 16th minute, racing down the left flank past three defenders in the penalty area before shuffling off a pass to Jack Harrison. The Englishman tapped the ball in for his sixth goal.
It did not take long for the Revs to equalize as Kei Kamara buried a header from six yards past keeper Sean Johnson for a 1-1 tie in the 24th minute.
The tough luck award for the first half had to go NYCFC forward Rodney Wallace, who will fly to Costa Rica Thursday to begin World Cup qualifying preparations. Wallace headed an attempt wide left in the eighth minute, sent a shot wide right in the 27th minute and fired a shot on target that Knighton snared two minutes later.
Feeling frisky after his goal, Harrison decided to test Knighton in the 33rd minute as he tried to place the ball into the upper right corner. This time the keeper caught his try.
City continued to put pressure on the New England goal. Villa smashed a high chopper off a volley that Knighton parried away for a corner kick in the 38th minute.