New York City FC made it two wins from two in their Home Opener vs. LA Galaxy.
Here’s Five Things Managing Editor Mark Booth learned from a satisfying season-opener at Yankee Stadium…
NYCFC did something they’ve never done before in this Home Opener, maintaining a perfect start through their first two MLS games.
With six points from a possible six, City are making an early statement of intent that rapid progress will continue into season four.
This was the perfect start to life back in the Bronx as Patrick Vieira’s team flew out of the blocks and commenced raining in shots on David Bingham’s goal, eventually being rewarded on 22’ when Anton Tinnerholm marked his home debut in explosive style.
David Villa followed it up on his 100th MLS appearance, scoring the game-winning goal to send the Blues faithful home with a song in their hearts.
Concluding a weekend-long festival of football in New York City, this was a thrilling final act for so many reasons...
Well, he was always going to score in this one…
El Guaje has proved he’s the man for the big occasions on countless occasions before in his storied career and he wasn’t about to let his 100th league game for NYCFC pass without putting his name up in lights for the 66th time.
Winnng the fan vote for Heineken Star of the Game in the process, Villa continued his record of scoring in every NYCFC Home Opener, netting six across those four games.
What a way to celebrate your Bronx bow.
Tinnerholm wasn’t signed for his goalscoring prowess but he showed he’s got that in his locker as well with his outrageous opening goal.
Pouncing on the loose ball, the Swedish international hammered his volley in off the crossbar, giving goalkeeper David Bingham zero chance to even move before it cannoned back off the underside of the bar and over the line.
It wasn’t just his goal that made this home debut special… Anton steeled himself after an overzealous early challenge from Jonathan Dos Santos and was a dominant presence on the right side of the field, winning the ball back for his team and combining with Jesus Medina to great effect.
This performance earned him the NYCFC.com MOTM award and the former Malmo man earned praise from his Head Coach in the post-game press conference, too.
Vieira told reporters: “He’s vocal and he’s a winner – on and off the field, he’ll be a big help to this team.”
Another player who made his home debut and received the approval of his coach was Jesus Medina.
The Paraguayan wasn’t far off earning back-to-back Star of the Game awards in the fan vote after he produced arguably the two key passes of the match.
His first, a surgical incision through the LA backline created the assist for Tinnerholm’s explosive opener, before his pacey counter charge and perfect pass for Ben Sweat set the table for his skipper to score his first of 2018.
Per Vieira: “He played a really good game. I loved how he worked for the team and how he created space. He’s got the quality to make the pass before the assist – he understands the game really well.
“What I love about him is that he wasn’t happy to come off – when players aren’t happy to come off, it means they enjoy being on the field and that’s really good.”
Following up his goal against Sporting Kansas City in Week 1 with another influential performance, Medina has hit the ground humming.
A Dominant Win
Should NYCFC be concerned with how LA Galaxy came into the game following Dos Santos’s deficit-halving goal? Not according to Vieira: “Against a quality team, there’s always a time in the game where you’ll suffer but I’m really happy and pleased to win that game against a tough opponent.”
City should perhaps have been out of sight by the time Dos Santos struck against the run of play but it would have been a travesty if the home team had taken any less than three points based on the cadence of the match.
As Patrick asserted, LA Galaxy have an abundance of talented attacking players and will always ask questions of any team in this league but the backline rose to the challenge and repelled everything that was thrown at them in a tough final 15’.
Can NYCFC keep it going and make it three from three? You’ll have to be at Yankee Stadium on Saturday when Orlando come to town to find out…