They wanted to assure their fan base that one or two improvements would push NYCFC to another level this season and of course that is bringing the MLS Championship Cup home. Those additions along with the Captain David Villa made an impression in the NYCFC opening game win at home in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium Sunday evening.
Of course, Villa, in his 100th MLS appearance would make an impression with one of two goals in a 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy. It was the the first goal for Villa this season that helped NFCFC to a 2-0 early season mark and in four openers since joining the club he has scored.
Villa is the difference with this team. So are the additions that could get coach Patrick Vieira a championship after coming up short the past two years in the Eastern portion of the MLS semifinals.
“It will be really easy for me to change my starting 11 because of the quality of players I have on the team,” said Vieira “
The coach has Jesus Medina. The 20-year old midfielder from Paraguay can pass the ball well and be a part of the assist. He also has 26-year old Sebastien Ibeagha from Nigeria who filled in for the suspended Maxima Chanot and was a part of an attack in the second half.
He said about Medina, “What I love about him as well, was he wasn’t happy to come off. And when the players are not happy to come off that means they enjoyed being on the field and that’s really good.”
That is not to degrade roles others have played the past two years. But additions, and a few of those will help as was displayed before the 26,221 who attended this latest home opener in the Bronx. Anton Tinnerholm, reigning 2017 Allsvenskan Defender of the Year in helping Malmo clinch back-to back titles for three years opened the scoring.
“Proud moment for me at the home opener,” he said. “ And directly, I felt like we we played really well today especially in the first half in the beginning of the second as well. We need to score three nil and the game is dead, now they get 2-1 from nowhere and the game is still alive, but we keep fighting as a team and that’s the strength of the team we keep fighting together.”
And fighting together with adjustments has never been the issue under coach Vieira. Last season, even during their home opening win some adjustments had to be made. This time, though not short handed, the coach has that right nucleus of players and the newcomers have quickly adapted in what could be finalized as that special season.
“We have a clear idea of how we want to play,” said Tinnerholm. “I feel like you saw it today especially in the first half. We want to keep the ball with the team and I think a lot of teams will have a lot of problems when they come here and even when we play away. We want to have the ball on the ground, keep it with the team and let the opponents run a lot, so we have a clear idea of how we want to play.”
Villa of course gave his assessment and It is never long with his comments but to the point. He loves Medina by his side who will be a good replacement now that Jack Harrison, a leading scorer last year, is not on the field with him. NYCFC counter attacked and did what they had to do on this special day at home.
“He’s an amazing guy and we love him but try to forget him on the field,” Villa commented about Harrison. That was last year and this is now.
The Galaxy was a tough opponent and Orlando is next in the Bronx Saturday afternoon. Indeed this could be that special year for NYCFC and some newcomers will help their cause with the captain David Villa.