(Frank Lampard (center) and Andrea Pirlo) battle – Photo by Mike Lawrence)
Ned Grabavoy led the way for New York City Football Club, as he had two goals in their 3-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Yankee Stadium.
These were Grabavoy’s first two goals of the season, and they couldn’t have come at a better time.
New York City FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said of Grabavoy’s effort, “I think Ned, he worked extremely hard Wednesday. I thought he was extremely instrumental in us getting that result. The amount of work he was putting in just to get forward in transition, it was enormous in support of [Patrick] Mullins. So, tonightI’m really pleased to see him get a couple of goals. He’s working extremely hard and it’s guys like that I think that you need to come through for you in the most critical of times.”
After a scoreless first half, it didn’t take long for NYC FC to break through in the second half. In the 51st minute, NYC FC goalie Josh Saunders kicked it to midfield, where Frank Lampard received it and headed it to David Villa. After taking it a bit to his left, Villa got it to Grabavoy, who blasted it from just outside the box to make it 1-0.
In the 63rd minute, Lampard came down the right side, and he fired it to the center of the box, where Grabavoy was, and he headed it home to make it 2-0 NYC FC.
Just two minutes later, NYC FC made it 3-0 on a similar type of play. Angelino was coming down the left side and he fired it across to Villa, coming down the center and he headed it in for his 16th goal of the season, sending Yankee Stadium into a frenzy.
Kreis said of Villa’s performance tonight after missing Wednesday’s match with an injury, “I thought he was really good. He looked really focused tonight. He looked like he was intent on making things happen and doing whatever he could for the team. Obviously, the goal was nice, but I think the assist was equally as nice. The pass to Ned [Grabavoy], the weight he put on the ball in front of him was inch-perfect.”
San Jose wasn’t finished, as Quincy Amarikwa scored in the 72nd minute, and then after Amarikwa was taken down in the box in the 76th minute, Chris Wondolowski scored on a penalty kick to make it 3-2 NYC, which was the final.
NYC FC improved to 9-14-7, 34 points, their second win at Yankee Stadium in three days. They play their next three games on the road before returning home on October 25th for the season finale against New England. With the win, NYC FC is two points behind the Montreal Impact, who have 36 points (10-11-6), and have three games in hand.
Frank Lampard said of the result, “Good result. Good spirit. Some good football. Great goals. Onto the next one now. We really need to keep going.”
Lampard said of what’s next for NYC FC, “There’s more to come. We’re going to get better and get to know each other more and get fitter. We’ve seen glimpses – as we saw today. Ned came up with two very good goals. That just breeds confidence which really helps us.”
Kreis said of Frank Lampard’s contributions, “I think Frank put in a ton of extra work. He used that bye week like a mini preseason. He was doing a lot of extra work with our conditioning coach Oscar Patias after every single training session—even so much so that we had to kind of pull him back and make sure he was fresh for the game. Any time you do that as a player it’s going to pay dividends. It’s a matter of time. I think it was really massive that both those players were able to make the contributions they did over three games in a week because I know being that age—not even playing that long, I stopped when I was 34—it’s pretty hard to recover when you’re that age.”
Lampard said of Kreis’ praise, “This is a good level of football. This is top football. I was out for 2 or 3 months without a preseason. As I get closer to fitness I know better play will come and hopefully more goals will come on top of them. If we are playing winning teams and winning it gives me extra time to get to my best.”
Lampard said of Ned Grabavoy, “It’s a testament to his professionalism. I’ve seen him train and how he works for the team. He deserves today.”
NYC FC Midfielder Ned Grabavoy said of the evolution of the team, “The last 3 games we’ve looked more on the same page. Especially defensively with our shape. Not allowing as many clear chances as we did the rest of the season. That’s probably the biggest positive for me. We obviously had a little 10-15 minute lull there to let them back in, but we had the experience amongst the group to not let that let-down happen. The last 3 games I think we’ve all seen a little bit of a difference.”
On his season thus far, Grabavoy said, “I think it’s been a struggle for everyone. We’ve been towards the bottom of the table most of the season. I certainly wouldn’t look myself in the mirror and say everything has been spectacular. And that’s probably individually and collectively across the board. We’ve kind of shifted up our shape throughout times in the year. Recently I’ve found myself counted on to be one of the first guys in the box, so I’ve made it a point to really run and be around the other front 2 or 3 guys and help the club create goals.”
Grabavoy said ofthe importance of MLS experience, “The things that separate a team that is 8th in the conference and 3rd, it’s very small details that make the difference. The fight and the effort and the togetherness, it’s all there, and the quality is certainly there, there is no denying that, that’s going to shine through. We’ve seen that in the last couple of matches.”
NYC FC won this game with the same four defenders as on Wednesday against Toronto, with Chris Wingert, Shay Facey, Jason Hernandez, and R.J. Allen anchoring the back line. There were a couple of down notes, as Allen had to leave due to injury and Wingert took a yellow card, which rules him out of their next match.
NYC FC Defender Shay Facey said of the defense’s cohesiveness, “Being compact when we don’t have the ball is important. We have played that can counterattack. We got the ball out wide and had some fantastic crosses and finishes. Keeping the team together and staying compact was very important.”
Facey said of the back four, “The guys are ready to come in and work hard in the week leading up, not just the guys playing. We all look to have the same principles when defending, so whoever is going to come in on a given week is going to step up and perform.”
NYC FC Goalkeeper Josh Saunders said of the game, “Good overall. Obviously we are happy with the result. We’re not going to give up. We have a tough game next weekend in Vancouver. Obviously we need to do some things better in terms of finishing a game out. At the same time we’ll hit the video room and get back out there.”
Saunders said of the continuity of the defense, “I think that helps. The spacing is good. You get to know your player a little bit better. But we’re probably going to have a yellow card suspension, but whoever goes in is going to have to step up.”