(David Villa tracks a ball in the air – Photo by Mike Lawrence)
New York City Football Club fought to a 4-4 draw with Toronto on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. David Villa led the way for NYC FC with two goals, giving him 10 on the season. Sebastian Giovinco had a hat trick for Toronto.
NYC FC got their first chance in the 15th minute when Villa had a chance off a pass from Mehdi Ballouchy. It went wide, resulting in a corner. Villa took the corner and got it to Tommy McNamara, who was taken down just outside the box to the left side.
The result was a free kick, which Villa took, and he shot it over the “wall” set up by the Toronto defense. Toronto goalie Chris Konopka got a hand on it, but it snuck inside the right post to give Villa his first goal of the game and make it 1-0 NYC FC. Villa scored on a similar play last weekend in Montreal.
A minute later, Toronto was awarded a penalty kick and Giovinco took it. He went left and it went off the post.
NYC got a penalty kick of their own in the 28th minute when McNamara was taken down in the box. Villa took it, and Konopka made a tremendous save. The rebound went to Patrick Mullins, who deflected it off Toronto defender Damien Perquis, who was awarded an “own goal,” and it was 2-0 NYC.
Incredibly, Toronto drew another penalty kick in the 34th minute, and Giovinco got a second chance, and this one he took advantage of, cutting NYC’s lead to 2-1.
That gave Toronto some needed momentum as the first half closed. In the 40th, on a fast-moving play, Jackson found Givoinco with a pass from just inside the center line, and Giovinco buried it for his second of the game to tie it at 2. That wasn’t all, as he blew by NYC FC defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe in the center of the crease to receive a perfect pass and he drilled it to give Toronto a 3-2 lead going into halftime.
The second half was slow to develop, with nothing happening until the 57th minute. NYC FC defenders were lazily passing the ball among themselves in the backfield, and Giovinco picked off a Chris Wingert pass and drove to the net. He came down to the right post, got it by Wingert and Saunders, but it rolled off the left post.
A couple minutes later, NYC defender Andoni Iraola, who was making his debut, was taken down to the right of the net. Iraola stayed down for a while, and when that happens, you got to the sideline with the trainer until the referee signals you back into the game. Well, as he was walking along the sideline, the ball came near him, so he stepped back into the field of play to pass it to his teammate. The referee blew the whistle immediately and gave him a yellow card.
NYC FC kept the pressure on, and in the 64th minute, Villa had a great chance, but was taken down by Konopka, and he was awarded a penalty kick. Villa got this one, taking advantage of the second chance as Giovinco did earlier, and the game was tied at 3 in the 65th minute.
It stayed that was until the 82nd minute, when Giovinco was coming down the left side of the field and flew it by Wingert to Marky Delgado, who was coming down the center of the crease, and Delgado scored to give Toronto a 4-3 lead.
Incredibly, two minutes later, NYC crashed the net, and a Toronto defender next to the left post headed it away from the net, rught to Patrick Mullins, who headed it in to tie the game at 4, and send Yankee Stadium into a frenzy.
New York City FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said of the changes in the momentum of the game, “What I said at halftime is what I continue to believe. We are really starting out games well, creating attacking chances, creating goal scoring chances and taking goals. But for whatever reason, there seems to be a moment in every game where we just stop. I think the moment probably came when we gave away that penalty kick—the second one that he [Sebastian Giovinco] actually scored to make it 2-1. I think a lot of guys kind of hung their heads at that moment and said, ‘here we go again’. That’s not a good enough reaction and we’ve got to continue to strive to improve because we need to be able to put 90 minutes together. That always has to be our goal. I think in soccer, you’re never going to be dominant and the leader of the match for 90 minutes, but it certainly needs to be our goal.”
Kreis said of Andoni Iraola’s debut with the Club, “I was really pleased with him. In all honesty, his coach shouldn’t have kept him out there for 90 minutes. We took a gamble because he’s only been training now for a week. The idea was to start him, play him 45 [minutes], talk to him at halftime, see if he could continue on. He wanted to continue on 15, 20 more minutes. We got to 15, 20, 30 minutes. I asked him if he wanted to continue to go and he said: “yes.” The character is fantastic. He’s really, really hungry to help this team.”
In addition to Iraola, 18-year old defender Angelino made his debut, playing the entire second half. Kreis said of Angelino’s debut and future at outside back, “Angelino is a bright, bright prospect and somebody that I really enjoyed watching when I was over at Manchester a year ago. He’s somebody that I felt could be a real benefit to any MLS team—to ours in particular because of the way we want to play. He’s been developed in the Manchester City way, and that’s to be an attacking outside back. That’s the role that I see there. Do I think he could play as a winger? Sure. But I’d actually like him to be looked at more an developed as an outside back. He can really get forward and make things happen in the attacking half of the field because that’s the way we want to play.”
New York City FC Defender Angelino said of his initial thoughts/feelings of joining team, “I am really happy to be a part of this team and hopefully there will be many more games for me here to come.”
On Sebastian Giovinco’s performance, Kreis said, “Let me say this clearly: I think Giovinco is a fantastic player. I’m not trying to take anything away from him. But for a player – that we’d already known so much about – to get that much time and space is incomprehensible. We have to take a real hard look as to why that kept happening.”
New York City FC F David Villa said of the game, “It was a very strange game. At the beginning, we were winning 2-0. We were happy and thinking we had such an advantage that we started making mistakes. We suffered three goals against us in about six minutes. What looked like an easy victory became a very peculiar match for us. I would also like to add that we have the best goalkeeper in the whole league. If it wasn’t for him, it would have been a bigger problem.”
On the Club’s defensive performance, Villa said, “We have to work on it. We have new players now and they have helped us a lot and will help us a lot in the future. With only one week of training, they have been very good. Everybody has to defend, though. It’s a job for the 11 of us, so we all did not do a great job of defending today.”
LATEST ON LAMPARD: Frank Lampard should have made his much-anticipated debut with NYC FC in this one, but he was ruled out with a strained calf. Kreis said of his status and plans for this week, “The plans are to get him back involved. He’s taking a couple of days off just to rest and heal and recuperate. Then, we’ll build him up through the week of training. We believe at this moment that he’ll be available for next Saturday’s game.”