(NYC FC forward David Villa – photograph by Mike Lawrence)
New York City Football Club won their third straight Major League Soccer match and extended their unbeaten run to four after a 2-0 victory on the road over Toronto FC in front of 28,352 on Saturday evening at BMO Field.
Captain David Villa scored two goals, one in each half, to bring his season tally to six as New York City FC improved to 4-7-5 with 17 points. Toronto FC, which came into the match on a three-match winning streak, dropped to 6-6-1 with 19 points.
Since snapping an 11-match winless stretch, which seems like a distant memory at this point, New York City FC has taken 10 out of a possible 12 points from their last four matches.
NYC FC needed just eight minutes for the first breakthrough of the evening. Mehdi Ballouchy’s corner kick was headed on by Andrew Jacobson at the near post. The ball went off of Benoit Cheyrou’s arm as the referee pointed to the penalty spot after ruling it a handball. Villa took the penalty kick and drilled it into the bottom left corner for a 1-0 lead.
From there the match got chippy and physical, but New York City FC never lost composure. Goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who made four saves, preserved the one-goal advantage with a series of saves in about three minutes.
Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco was denied on a free kick from approximately 25 yards out in the 29th minute as Saunders dove to his left to punch the ball away.
Toronto FC maintained the pressure. One minute later, Giovinco found an overlapping Justin Morrow down the left side. The defender fired in a low cross to Michael Bradley, but the midfielder’s one-timed effort from 6 yards out was kick saved by the veteran Saunders.
In the 31st minute, forward Luke Moore beat the defense and found himself with a one-on-one opportunity, but Saunders denied his effort.
The score remained 1-0 at halftime, and just as they did in the first half, they got off to a fast start in the second.
In the 58th minute, Mix Diskerud gained possession just outside of the Toronto FC penalty box. He fed a rushing Tommy McNamara down the right side. As he was falling down, McNamara crossed the ball to Mehdy Ballouchy to his left. Just as he did in the 3-1 win against Montreal on June 13, Ballouchy unselfishly played the ball across to Villa, who fired it home for another goal.
New York City FC return to the field against the Red Bulls on Sunday. Kickoff is 5 p.m. EDT from Yankee Stadium. The match will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.
NYC FC Coach Jason Kreis said of the win, “The guys played fantastic tonight. I am very familiar with the way Toronto FC plays as I have been around the league for years but it was up to the guys to really give the effort. To me it was mostly about the effort.”
Kreis said of Toronto FC, “There is no way you can allow guys like Giovinco or Bradley any type of space on the ball. The few times they did have space on the ball they nearly hurt us. We knew there were going to be times where we had to weather the storm because Toronto is a very good team.”
NYC FC goalie Josh Saunders said of the match, “I thought it was a great result, great effort by the guys and now we have a few wins in a row. We are taking this confidence into next week vs New York Red Bull.”
Saunders said of the impact of another positive result, “I think these wins have given us the confidence to calm down and really play a little bit more. We have a lot more trust in each other with the ability to move forward and attack. It says a lot as we are winning on the road and Toronto is a very good team.”