Oh, what a night!
Managing Editor Mark Booth rounds up the major talking points…
A goalkeeping performance for the ages.
There simply aren’t the superlatives in the language to fully do justice to the performance Sean Johnson produced in this game but we’ll try our best…
Has a goalkeeper ever deserved a clean sheet more? As good as NYCFC’s two goals were, this was a night when Johnson simply refused to be beaten and he took the Man of the Match award by a street.
The mark of a truly great save is one keeps out a shot where there would have been no blame attached to the goalkeeper if it had gone in.
Sean made at least three saves that would fit into this category, earning the praise of his Head Coach in the process.
Patrick Vieira told reporters: “Sean has been fantastic for us – not just because of what he’s doing on the field but because of who he is… We love him.”
How about that for a first professional goal? It’s certainly one that Lewis will never forget.
The Rookie has been broken in to the pro game gently by Vieira in his first season but now he’s really starting to take flight, as evidenced by his stunning opening goal.
The run on its own which took Lewis into a shooting position was special but the strike that followed was just as good as he looped the ball over Brian Rowe into the back of the net via the crossbar.
Not a bad way to announce yourself on the big stage…
More History for Villa?
Lewis told Julie Stewart-Binks after the game that watching Villa in training inspired him to take on the shot and the Master to his Apprentice followed up the youngster’s strike with an equally incredible one of his own.
Turning and slamming the ball into the top corner, Villa made it 18 for the season to stretch his lead in the race for the MLS Golden Boot.
The reigning MVP is now just nine goals shy of the all-time record for Regular Season goals jointly-held by Roy Lassiter, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Chris Wondolowski.
For reference, El Guaje’s got ten games to get them and he has scored 10 in his last nine...
That inspired performance from Johnson gave his team a clean sheet for the first time since the 2-0 win over Red Bulls at the end of June.
It’s been six games since NYCFC shut out the opposition and, with Playoff-time looming, it was important to get back to keeping things tight at the back.
Although Sean will deservedly take the majority of the plaudits for this one, the entire XI played their part in limiting LA Galaxy to the chances they had.
That they ended it empty-handed says a lot about this NYCFC side.
The Race is On
NYCFC moved up to second in the Eastern Conference and in the Supporters Shield with this latest road victory of the campaign.
Building upon that 3-2 win over Red Bulls last time out, it was an important three points for Vieira’s men to send out a message ahead of the final ten games of the Regular Season.
Are NYCFC MLS Cup contenders? According to the Head Coach, the answer is yes, but he stopped short of making his team favorites for the title, pointing to Toronto FC as the standard bearers as things stand.
Vieira believes the Boys in Blue are in the pack of five, six or seven teams who can rival the Canadians and he’ll be eager to see his side take another step towards an automatic MLS Playoffs berth with a victory over New England next time out.
It’s all starting to heat up nicely…