Galaxy’s Stars Too Bright For NYC FC

(NYC FC Captain midfielder David Villa – Photo by Mike Lawrence)

The Los Angeles Galaxy won the battle of the stars on Sunday afternoon, as they blew out New York City Football Club 5-1.

NYC FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said after the game, “I think we ran up against the best team in the league and they punished our mistakes pretty severely. We started out the game, I thought, really really well but the first sign of a bad mistake in the back, a giveaway in the back, led to a clear chances for the Galaxy and the momentum completely shifted and I don’t think we ever gained it back. We still have a lot to learn about how to be mentally strong and how to get the momentum back in games because I think it is happening to us quite often where we have spells where we are good and them something happens in the game and everything completely shifts and we have a hard time getting that back.”

These teams have the highest-profile designated players in the MLS, but on this day, the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane, Giovani dos Santos, Steven Gerrard, Juninho, and Sebastian Lletget far outpaced NYC FC’s David Villa and Andrea Pirlo.

NYC FC was, of course, without Frank Lampard, who is battling a strained quad and has only played in two games this season. Kreis said of not having Lampard, ““I think a player like Frank [Lampard] in the midfield for us would certainly make a difference. He’s a veteran player with a ton of experience that can communicate and can lead the guys around him. He might be the guy that we need to stem the tide when things are going a little but south for us. Unfortunately he wasn’t quite fit enough to really contribute for us today. We will have an entire week to try to get him involved in full trainings and fit for next weekend.”

NYC FC started off well, with Kwadwo Poku getting a quality chance in the 6th minute and goalie Josh Saunders made a few amazing saves to keep it even.

One sign the game was going to turn was when David Villa had the ball taken away from him at the top of the box in the 24th minute. This was followed a few minutes later by Andrea Pirlo getting hit near his knee at midfield. Both really weren’t effective after these moments.

The Galaxy were starting to get real big chances around the 30th minute, when Robbie Keane hit the crossbar and it appeared Los Angeles had a goal in the 30th minute when they crashed the net, but it was called offside.

In the 36th minute, the Galaxy were awarded a free kick after a foul was called on David Villa. As Villa and the NYC FC players stood around pissed off, Juninho took a free kick, passed it along the right side to Robbie Keane, and he got it across to Gyasi Zardes at the top of the box, and he drilled it to make it 1-0 LA.

It stayed that way until the second half, when LA struck again in the 54th minute. Giovani dos Santos was near midfield and he found Keane, who blew right by NYC defender Jason Hernandez, on the right side, and he flipped it over a diving Josh Saunders to make it 2-0 LA.

Kreis tried to shake it up in the 59th minute when he brought on Sebastian Velazquez and Ned Grabavoy, who have barely played in the past month. It made no sense to bring in two midfielders instead of getting a defender like Chris Wingert in to provide stability in the back.

The results were predictable, as LA continued to dominate. In the 67th, Dos Santos scored off a feed from Keane to make it 3-0.

In the 70th, Sebastian Lletget came down the left side, with Steven Gerrard at the top of the box, and Gyasi Zardes on the right side. Swift passing back-and-forth, the three of them toying with the NYC defense, resulted in Lletget drilling it to give LA a 4-0 lead.

Kreis pulled Pirlo in the 75th minute. Pirlo was largely ineffective, unable to get any room at midfield and set up his teammates with long passes. Out of six games with NYC FC, he has been really superb in only two of them, against Orlando on July 26th and against DC United on August 13th, which were both at Yankee Stadium.

NYC FC got on the board in the 80th minute when Villa cashed in on a penalty kick.

LA was not finished, as Keane got his second of the game, on a feed from Robbie Rogers and Sebastian Lletget, in the 81st minute to make it 5-1.

Kreis said of what NYC FC needs to do defensively, “I think its continued work with organization with our back four and the players in front of them. I think today we got caught on counter attacks a lot against a team I said before they are the best in the league at that right now and you see that with a lot of the score lines that they have. They are scoring a ton of goals, they are a defensively sound team that hits you in transition very well.”

David Villa said of the game, “We got outplayed by a better team. After the first 20 minutes they started to get into the game. They played better, they defended better and they attacked better and the score reflects that.”

On the team’s performance, Villa said, “We trained hard for this game. In the first 20 we played the way we prepared for this game. We were playing well and almost scored a goal but them we stopped doing what we were doing. When you play against a great team, let’s acknowledge that they are a great team, they are a better team than us, they are the defending champions. When you play against a team better than you the only thing you can do is stay 100 percent focused and after the 20th minute we didn’t do that.”

NYC FC midfielder Kwadwo Poku said of bouncing back from this loss, “We came into the locker room and everyone was talking about it. It is not something that we expected. It happens we just have to forget about it. We have our next game on Saturday and that is a crucial game too, we definitely have to win that game if we want to make it to the next stage.”

Poku said of the game, “We didn’t expect that, we know that is what they do but we played well for the first 20 to 25 minutes handling that but after the first goal everything changed. We were a little bit disorganized and they took care of their chances, great stuff from them.”

On playing higher up the field during the second half, Poku said, “When it was 2-0 or 3-0 I thought we just had to push forward because we were already down. We just had to push forward and try to create some chances or get some goals to come back in the game that is why I pushed forward but it didn’t work that way but like I said we are just going to keep our heads up and forward and focus on the next game.”


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