Five Things: Villa’s Golazo & Youngsters Shine

FIve Things Jacksonville Uni

NYCFC kicked off preseason with an emphatic 9-0 win over Jacksonville University Dolphins.

Here are five things Managing Editor Mark Booth learned…

Taking Chances

Nine goals and eight different goalscorers… it was a night where everything NYCFC touched turned to goal.

Most pleasing for Head Coach Patrick Vieira was the attitude displayed by his players in the game as they kept their collective foot on the accelerator pedal even with the escalating scoreline.

With competition for places being what it is this season and with a number of trialists competing for contracts, every player knew that this was a priceless opportunity to shine and they did just that.

From the opening goal by John Stertzer after five minutes - a clever header from a stunning Pirlo cross - NYCFC kept piling forward in waves, allowing David Villa (2), Ethan White, Jalen Brown, Jonathan Lewis, Kwame Awuah, Robero Louima, Jack Harrison to spread the goals around the team.

The Kids Are Alright!

A lot has been made of the decreasing average age of this group going into year three and the junior members of the team certainly showed that they are assimilating Vieira’s ideas after just 11 days of preseason training.

In the first half, Jonathan Lewis demonstrated his pace and quality on the left flank, linking up with Ronald Matarrita to devastating effect on a number of occasions and marking his first start with a goal.

At 16, James Sands is the youngest member of the travelling party and he looked assured playing at the base of midfield alongside Andrea Pirlo, while Lewis’s fellow SuperDraft picks Awuah and Brown both also got their names on the scoresheet, impressing in the process.

Young Haitian talent Robert Louima scored one of the night’s best goals too, smashing a Khiry Shelton cross into the top corner and acquitting himself well in a late substitute appearance.

The future certainly looks bright on this evidence.

Villa’s Golazo

Louimo’s goal would have been the best of the night had it not been for David’s outrageous scissor kick which was a goal worthy of gracing any occasion.

Shannon Gomez, making his first appearance since the US Open Cup last year, provided the pinpoint cross which Villa acrobatically turned into the net with a finish reminiscent of his goal against Vancouver last season.

No-one told El Guaje this was a friendly as he approached it in his normal fashion, pulling defenders all over the field and also drawing the foul for the penalty which he also converted.

Credit to JU

It was a comprehensive scoreline that Jacksonville University’s team found themselves on the wrong side of but they had no cause to feel disappointed by the way they went about this match against their MLS opponents.

Never did their heads go down as the goals piled up and at 7-0, they enjoyed their best spell of the game, providing stubborn resistance and frustrating NYCFC for a long stretch of the play.

They never gave up and kept trying to play the game in the right way and Vieira was quick to praise them in his post-match comments.

Challenges Ahead...

Following a rest day on Friday, the team will be back in training on Saturday as we build-up to the trip to Ecuador and a match against Emelec, who are sure to provide us with a tougher test.

This night was all about getting minutes into legs after the long offseason break, trying out the ideas that we’ve seen on the training camp for the last 11 days.

Our game on February 8 is sure to be a much closer, more intense affair and the work on the field over the next week will be important in setting the tone for a fascinating fixture which should give us a clearer picture of where we’re at for 2017.