(Photo credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)
Tomas Aviles scored a crucial tying goal late in second-half stoppage time and Inter Miami CF rallied for a 1-1 draw against visiting New York City Football Club Saturday night in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Aviles got his first career MLS goal five minutes into the eight-minute extra time by finishing off a brilliant sequence following a corner kick. With his back to the net, Aviles gained possession of a corner kick from Robert Taylor and sent a header from the center of the box into the bottom right corner.
Miami (9-15-6 33 points) moved within four points of Montreal for the ninth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It gained the point on a night when Lionel Messi was held out because of a leg injury that Miami did not announce the severity of.
Aviles scored after being beaten by NYCFC's Santiago Rodriguez in the 77th minute.
Rodriguez scored his first MLS goal since May 6 after a foul by Miami's Noah Allen resulted in a free kick for Andres Jasson. Jasson perfectly placed his free kick to Rodriguez, who began his move slightly above the center of the box and eluded Aviles and Jean Mota before sending a right-footed shot from a tough angle into the top right corner.
NYCFC dropped to 1-7-8 on the road and saw its unbeaten streak reach six games (4-0-2). By blowing the late lead, NYCFC (8-10-14, 38 points) only moved one point ahead of Montreal into eighth place.
Miami goalie Drake Callender made two saves and withstood NYCFC attempting 10 shots.
New York's Matt Freese did not make any saves as Miami attempted 12 shots including a shot in the final minute of stoppage time that clanged off the post and landed just in front of the goal line.
Following a rain delay of nearly 60 minutes, a competitive first half saw plenty of chances for NYCFC to score, especially by Monsef Bakrar.
He missed the net twice in a two-minute span 15 minutes into the match. Then in the 26th, his shot eluded the open net after getting a pass from Andres Perea.
In the 32nd, Bakrar missed from outside the box after Perea misfired from close range and then was unable to finish off a breakaway in the 51st two minutes after Allen missed the net twice.
--Field Level Media