The New York weather did its best Seattle weather impression as Saturday afternoon was a complete washout. However the rainy weather would not slow down David Villa on his quest for his 50th MLS goal with a NYCFC victory.
The scoring began just before halftime as the Sounders struck first from a successful two on one breakaway sealed with an impressive finish from the right foot of Cristian Roldan.
Roldan and NYCFC defender Maxime Chanot were racing neck and neck with the ball ahead, but with US national team forward Clint Dempsey making a run behind the two it caused Chanot to cautiously pursue Roldin while anticipating a pass backwards.
Roldan took advantage of the uncertainty and picked the left side of the net to claim his second goal of the season.
“I was a little bit surprised to be honest. I was scared he would give it to Dempsey behind me.. I saw him look at him [Dempsey] behind me”, said Chanot on the goal.
The defender is playing in his first match since injuring his hamstring while on international duty with Luxembourg and says he is fit assuring, “I’m feeling alright, I’m feeling good,” despite conceding the goal.
Once again the New York City side had found themselves down 1-0 in a match. A hole they continue to dig for themselves as this was the fourth time in the past five matches that they had conceded the first goal.
However this team has veteran leadership and a coach that believes in them and wills them to keep pushing on.
In the 45th minute after a brilliant effort by Rodney Wallace to get the ball to his captain, David Villa was presented an opportunity to tie the game up before the halftime whistle. Villa curved a rocket shot from inside the box that ended with a familiar BANG as the ball smashed off the top of the post.
The 25,073 in attendance were stunned to see Villa hit post for what felt like the tenth time since his last goal nearly a month ago.
“It’s important for me because the goal is my goal always because i’m a striker,” Villa said. “And I think that goal gave a lot of points in a good moment for NYCFC. Now I rest today of course and now i’m looking to score number 52 because that’s the best I could do in the near future. I’m so happy to score so many goals because NYCFC is important.”
Villa would not let his unfortunate luck get the best of him as he sought to dominate the second half. And that is what he did.
The captain, sporting his rainbow themed arm band in spirit of Pride Day took a throw in into the box and was swarmed by three Sounders defenders where he would be tripped up and awarded a penalty shot.
El Guaje smelled the blood in the air and delivered the equalizer, and his 50th MLS career goal. A bullet that gave Sounders’ keeper Stefan Frei barely any time to react.
However Villa wasn’t done hunting goals yet, as twenty five minutes later Jack Harrison toys around defenders with his foot skills and threw up a prayer cross that found Villa charging from the side of the box and delivering a clinical finish around Frei for the lead.
NYCFC would go on to preserve their 2-1 lead and seal another comeback victory in front of their home crowd.
Villa would comment on his performance and achievements saying, “It’s important to me [to reach the 50 goal milestone].. I’m happy because the two goals gave three points to the team”.
Continuing on, Villa emphasized his focus is helping the team over personal accolades, “It’s good, the numbers fifty, fifty one but I have a lot of a lot of games yet and my objectivity is not to score fifty goals. Now it’s to score fifty two I try to score for the team to win games”.
Head coach Patrick Vieira gave credit to his squad for bouncing back yet again, “We played against one of the best teams in the league and we went one nil down. To come back and win that game takes a lot of time spirit and quality.. I think we played really well and yes, I enjoyed watching the team play today.”
NYCFC looks to get revenge on their rivals as they will travel across the bridge next Saturday to take on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.