By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith
Sunday, March 11: 2-1 Win
New York City FC immediately took control of this game, calmly keeping possession and easily moving the ball around and through the LA Galaxy. This was the pace of the first two-thirds of the game. The movement down the left wing was swift and opened up space for David Villa in the center and for the cross to the right side. Jesus Medina and Rodney Wallace again utilized switching flanks quite a bit which successfully shook up LA’s ability to mark well.
With the fluid ball movement, the elephant on the field was that our offense was continuously distributing balls to Villa in goal-scoring chances in lieu of taking the shot themselves. As this was Villa’s 100th cap for NYCFC, teammates Medina and Maxi Moralez gave him many of their own legitimate chances to score but most of these deferred attempts fell flat.
The first goal of the match was scored by NYCFC when a shot by Villa was poorly cleared by LA and Anton Tinnerholm quickly capitalized on it with a strong left volley at 21:50. And finally, at 32:37 Villa’s one-game goal-scoring drought ended. Medina received a cross from Ben Sweat whose shot was blocked by LA goalkeeper David Bingham, which set up Villa to finish off the rebound.
Already, there seems to be strong chemistry between Sweat and Medina who have successfully set each other up in front of the goal in both games. The NYCFC momentum continued, yet as Villa stated in the post game, “…We couldn’t close the game. In the first half probably we had a chance to close the game. With three nil. Much easier and [with] no pain in the last minute.”
And so the tone of the game changed with an LA Galaxy goal at 60’ by Jonathan Dos Santos. NYCFC began to rush and scramble a bit more and LA was able to put together some offensive attacks. New York was very successful in forcing turnovers in the middle third of the field by swarming each LA player with two to three defenders.
Attacks on the Galaxy continued but when Medina was subbed out, there were numerous opportunities when nobody was on the right post. In the last 20 minutes of the game, Emmanuel Boateng became really dangerous every time LA took possession. Even playing with ten men, (Ashley Cole was ejected for 2 yellow cards), LA managed to heavily pressure NYCFC.
It looked like New York ran out of gas in the last 15 minutes, so when the final whistle blew it was with a huge sigh of relief from many fans.
Sean Johnson is credited with only two saves and one claimed cross but with one possibly saved by his face. They were legit threats and decisive saves.
No VAR used!
Alexander Callens and Sebastien Ibeagha’s squatting ball-clearing headers.
H-U-S-T-L-E-R of the match – Rodney Wallace providing that necessary 2nd or 3rd person pressure on LA.
Tinnerholm’s goal celebration = pure joy.
Who did David Villa say in the post-match interview is a “really amazing guy”?
Featured image courtesy: Keira Smith
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