New York City ended a four-game losing streak in MLS with a 2-2 draw against Chicago Fire with skipper David Villa leading the rousing comeback.
Chicago surged into a two-goal lead inside half an hour at Yankee Stadium on Friday, as City were reduced to 10 players after Robert Allen was sent off for conceding a penalty, which Jeff Larentowicz converted to make it 2-0.
Razvan Cocis had headed the Fire in front in the 14th minute.
With the home side and their fans exasperated by some of the referee’s decisions, including Allen’s red card for denying David Accam a clear goal-scoring opportunity, Villa led the expansion club in one of the most impressive performances of their short history.
Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson could not hold the Spanish striker’s powerful shot in first-half stoppage time, allowing Mehdi Ballouchy to score on the rebound, while Villa dominated the second half before eventually teeing up Khiry Shelton for City’s late equaliser.
In an end-to-end second half, City had a number of chances with Villa regularly involved in the final third with either a shot or the decisive pass, but the home fans had to wait until the 91st minute for the goal they desired.
Mix Diskerud found Villa on the edge of the box and the former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid forward spun away from two defenders before poking the ball to Shelton, who fired his shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Chicago will feel hard done by, however, as Shaun Moloney had a goal ruled out on a tight offside decision in the seventh minute, while the Fire wasted a number of counter-attacking opportunities in the second half.
Meanwhile, FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls played out a 0-0 draw, in a match pitting West against East.
Neither side could find the back of the net as Dallas moved a point clear of Vancouver Whitecaps at the Western Conference summit, while the Red Bulls stayed third in the Eastern Conference behind DC United and New England Revolution.