Where to start, where to start…
Choosing only five things we learned from yesterday’s 4-0 win over DC United is no easy task but we’ll give it our best shot!
1. Welcome Home
On a freezing cold day in the Bronx, NYCFC warmed the hearts of all who’d braved the elements with a stellar show of strength.
Bringing those inside the stadium to their feet on four occasions, Patrick Vieira’s side were, for the second week in succession, completely in control of the game - only this time they got their rewards…
It was the kind of performance which suggested that this new-look team could be in for a special season as the home team made 593 passes to DC’s 375, won more duels and completed more tackles.
The electric pace of Jack Harrison and Rodney Wallace offered a constant counter-attacking threat and the pair had the quality to serve the ball into the area to devastating effect.
Vieira spoke after the game on the importance of getting off to a good start at home this season but he could hardly have dreamed of a better Home Opener.
2. Setting Standards
Ever-the-perfectionist, Patrick wasn’t completely satisfied with what he saw from his team over the course of the 90 minutes.
The Frenchman felt there was plenty of room for improvement, citing the first 15 minutes of the second half as not being up to his exacting standards.
With his team 3-0 up and cruising to victory, Vieira thought his team were guilty of overconfidence and gave DC a glimmer of hope which was finally extinguished when David Villa netted the fourth goal.
Vieira said: “In the next game we will try to be more consistent. If we lead 3-0, how can we keep playing, keeping going forward and trying to score goals?
“We played too many passes backwards. That is just a mental thing that we need to talk about and try to improve.”
For fans, the prospect of NYCFC improving on this emphatic win is certainly a mouthwatering one.
3. Villa Maravilla!
David Villa, he sure loves a Home Opener!
El Guaje has now scored in each of NYCFC’s three Yankee Stadium bows, netting a brace for the second year in a row.
The league’s reigning MVP, off and running in some style…
Many Italian soccer aficionados familiar with Maxi Moralez’s work at Atalanta suggested that Villa could benefit hugely from the Argentine’s arrival and it really looked that way on Sunday.
The pair provided goals for one another and created passing lanes through the heart of a DC defense who couldn’t handle their clever interplay and razor sharp movement.
David’s first goal looked deceptively simple on first viewing but the angle from behind the goal shows just how brilliant the finish was.
With no pace on the cross from Wallace and with Villa running backwards to meet it, it was all on the Spaniard to generate the direction into the corner and he couldn’t have placed it better by hand.
The second goal, NYCFC’s fourth, was just as good as he sashayed and slinked past the defender and somehow squeezed it past Bill Hamid from the tightest of angles.
Another striking masterclass from a world class striker.
4. Defending as a Team
For Vieira’s system to work, there are no independent departments within the collective: the team attacks and defends together as one.
It’s the whole team’s responsibility to defend and that starts with the front three going right back through the XI to Sean Johnson between the posts.
Villa, Harrison and Wallace put in the yards and pressed valiantly, forcing mistakes from the opposition, winning the ball back close to the DC goal all afternoon long.
That eased the pressure on an NYCFC defense which has looked rock solid through the opening 180 minutes of the season, aided in no small part by Johnson, a goalkeeper who exudes calm which permeates through the whole team.
Early days, but very promising signs for the year ahead…
5. NYCFC’s Ouroboros
How’s this for some divine symmetry? Every goalscorer then went on to assist the next goal.
Rodney Wallace scores, then assists David Villa who scores, then assists Maxi Moralez who scores then assists David Villa.