Five Things: Sands Makes NYCFC History

Sands debut NYCFC

New York City FC played out a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

Here’s Managing Editor Mark Booth with five things we learned from an eventful evening in the Mile High City…

Sucker Punch

When Sean Johnson came up huge with the save from Alan Gordon in the 84th minute, it really looked like this was going to be NYCFC’s night.

Following a strong first half effort punctuated by Tommy McNamara’s 19th minute golazo, Patrick Vieira’s men seemed to be on their way to a sixth road win of the campaign.

Sadly, it was not to be…

If NYC owned the first half, you have to say that Colorado edged the game after the break and the hosts will walk away from this one feeling like they earned their point.

For the road team, it was frustrating to drop two points so late in the day but with so many players still on the sidelines and with MLS Playoffs destiny still in our own hands, the draw is certainly no cause to hit the panic button.

READ: Match Recap – NYCFC 1-1 Colorado Rapids

Enter the Sandsman

It might not have been a seven-goal thriller but it is a game that will live on in the history books for all time, due to a substitution made with 25 minutes remaining.

James Sands signed his first pro deal with NYCFC earlier this year and, following international duty with U.S U17s and an injury, he finally took to the field for the Boys in Blue for the first time at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

It’s been a whirlwind year for the Rye-native and he certainly did not look out of place in this cameo, showcasing the wise-beyond-his-years maturity that we caught a tantalizing glimpse of on preseason.

Needless to say, Sands became NYCFC’s youngest-ever player on Saturday night, as well as becoming the first Homegrown Player to ever play a competitive game for the club.

A humble, intelligent player with that all-important blend of natural talent and a dedicated work ethic, the sky really is the limit for the 17-year old.

Fly McNamara

Vieira’s effusive praise for McNamara in the post-game was telling… this was an excellent performance from West Nyack’s finest.

Even if you took out his vintage T-Mac strike, Tommy was excellent throughout the match.

Clever with his passes and a tireless runner, McNamara has had to be patient in waiting for a run of games but he has really grown into this campaign and the goal could be seen as his just reward for the hard work he’s put in.

And what a goal it was, too – a ripping strike from 25 yards which will surely be in NYCFC’s Goal of the Season conversation and just another addition to his blockbuster showreel.

READ:Vieira – “McNamara was Fantastic”


Vieira spoke of a need to be more ruthless following NYCFC’s defeat on the first day of the season at Orlando City.

It’s credit to this team that we haven’t heard that word “ruthless” from the Frenchman too many times in the intervening months.

However, he had cause to use it again on Saturday night as his side spurned a couple of presentable chances at 1-0 that would have surely been enough to put Colorado away.

As it was, the Mile High City’s altitude sapped the legs of those in Blue and the Rapids grew in confidence as the minutes ticked by, eventually leading to that equalizer from Badji.

Everywhere We Go

FYI, there are 1700 miles between Yankee Stadium and DSG Park. 1700. That’s far.

NYCFC enjoyed and benefitted from incredible support in Denver and, as one fan pointed out on Twitter, Colorado even arranged them into the shape of an NYC pizza slice which, I think we can all agree, was a lovely touch.

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