David Villa their leading scorer and eight other regulars for NYCFC were away on international duty or injured and not on the field Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. Good teams with depth can adapt and the opportunity arises for others to step in.
With seven games remaining it is important for NYCFC to continue their position in the Eastern Conference of the MLS
No Villa, the captain and that does make a difference with his league leading 19-goals. It took some time, and late in the match the difference maker was the 9th goal from Jack Harrison as RJ Allen tracked down a loose ball near the sideline.giving NYCFC the 1-0 win over Sporting KC
And these are the games that matter, so that goal was a difference maker. The late goal has become a part of the NYCFC game plan in their surge to get that playoff position. Coach Patrick Vieira is not satisfied with a tie and the crucial points came with this win placing his team six points ahead of Chicago and second place in the conference.
Harrison may have to be the difference maker again Saturday at home against Portland, another tough opponent and a match that will be significant in the standings. The status for Villa, recovering from an injury, remains uncertain and that could have an impact for this NYCFC team.
But this is a NYCFC team with depth and something that is needed, especially this time of year.
“Of course when you’ve got talent, you can open the game at any time,” said Vieira. “So I was really pleased he scored the goal and I want to give credit to this team because the players didn’t give up. We’re always trying to play forward and score the goals and we managed to do that in the end.”
The hook here about Harrison, according to the coach, “I don’t think this was his best game.” Of course without Villa on the field, who makes an impact, there can’t be perfection. NYCFC players will contend they are not the same team without their captain but deal with it. Good depth and that persistence to win these important games have become a pattern, with or without Villa making an impact.
“Without a doubt David is our captain but unfortunately he was hurt tonight,” said midfielder Tommy McNamara who was designated captain for the evening and played a role in the lone goal. “He is the best player in the league so obviously we are going to miss that. But it is what it is. These things happen in soccer.”
Yes these are the situations that occur in the game. NYCFC has more than one leader and the coach has that ability for those to fill the void. Villa can attack and defend as the best, and part of this surge to the top is a result of his play. Kansas City was aware they had to take advantage but could not find an answer.
“Yeah , I think it says a lot about the club actually and the way we want to play and the philosophy and I think it shows that the whole team understands it,” said Harrison. “We know what Patrick wants from us and we are willing to do anything to do that and the depth we have is good.”
Getting as many points as possible down this stretch is important and character of this team is evident. Villa and the regulars will return and that makes this run even more significant because there is that depth.
“Now we are getting to see the depth and what guys are all about,” said the goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
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