By Kevin Kinkead
NEW YORK, N.Y., (CBS) -- The field was small, but the goal was huge.
C.J. Sapong scored his first for the Union on Thursday night to salvage a road point against New York City FC inside Yankee Stadium.
It was the second game between the teams in just six days, and Philadelphia's late equalizer earned the club four out of six points in the home-and-home series.
Furthermore, it got Sapong on track after a difficult start with his new team. He's played with a mask since suffering a concussion and facial fracture in the season opener.
"(There have) definitely have been a lot of trials and tribulations to start the season," Sapong told reporters post-game. "But this is my fifth season, so I know how it goes. You can't get down on yourself too early. There are a lot of games. I'm just thankful to finally get my account open and, most of all, save a point for the team. We worked really hard and I think we definitely deserved at least a point."
Sapong found the net in the 86th minute when a hopeful long-ball from Cristian Maidana connected with the head of Maurice Edu inside the box. It fell kindly into the box for the second-half subsitute, who took the ball off the bounce and made a difficult, leaping shot look rather easy.
"I think there was a corner kick beforehand, so I saw we still had some guys in the box," Edu explained. "Chaco played a good ball in there, and I tried to, not put it on target, but more so just put it in a dangerous spot. C.J. was alert and he did well to finish it off."
"It wasn't the 'beautiful game' that we'd all like," added manager Jim Curtin. "But at the same time I thought we created chances, and pushed, and got rewarded in the end. C.J. makes a great play, Mo competes for a header, knocks it down to C.J., who lost his man, and it's a tougher finish than you'd think. He had to really wait for the ball to come down and put it in the corner. It was a good goal."
Philadelphia has come out of a three-game losing streak with a win and a draw.
And Sapong's minutes have steadily increased since he returned from injury on April 5th.
"I give the kid a lot of credit, you know, he had his face literally smashed in during week one in the first 45 minutes of a game," Curtin said. "As a tough kid, he wanted to be back on the field right away, and he had concussion issues. But for him to stick with it and stay in shape as well as he did during his downtime and score a big goal for us tonight, he gets rewarded for all of his hard work."
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