NYCFC Goals: Villa 48', Brillant 51'
Chicago Goals: Accam 54'
A Quick Look
A red card to Yangel Herrera just past the ten-minute mark and a first half injury substitution forced NYCFC to think on their feet on a hot summer afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
A flurry of second half goals, including a beautiful volley from David Villa and a scrappy header from Frederic Brillant, put a 10-man NYCFC side up 2-0 after the break, before a long-range strike from David Accam halved the margin.
NYCFC got off to a bright start in their second match in four days, dominating possession in the attacking half through the early minutes.
In the third minute, NYCFC were denied a penalty shout when Yangel Herrera made a brilliant tackle in the final third, carried the ball into the box, and had his legs swept out from under him by Johan Kappelhof before he was able to get a shot off.
It looked a clear penalty from this angle
This would be far from the only action of the opening minutes. Not long after, Herrera was on the other end of some foul play, quickly earning two yellow cards and finding himself sent off after just ten minutes. Despite the numerical disadvantage, NYCFC didn't take their foot off the gas. Plenty of possession and attacking intent were present for City, including this quick breakaway:
As the half wore on, Chicago found their way into the match more and more, mounting some attacking pressure and working the ball down the wings. NYCFC, playing something like a 4-1-3-1 after losing Herrera, NYCFC coped with the pressure by concentrating bodies centrally.
Just past the half hour mark, Ben Sweat was subbed off after colliding with Frederic Brillant as the two went up to head a Chicago corner clear of the box. Vieira brought on midfielder Mikey Lopez, looking to provide NYCFC with even more midfield presence.
NYCFC were on the attack again soon enough, and in the 38th minute, Jonathan Lewis almost struck gold in his debut start.
That would have been pretty, pretty cool.
The next dangerous moment came just on the stroke of 45 minutes, as Johan Kappelhof sent in a shot from long range that was deflected at the top of the box, forcing Sean Johnson into a terrific save. With little time to react, Johnson managed to get his fingertips on the ball, sending it over the bar and out of danger.
David Villa gave NYCFC the best possible start to the second half, volleying home a cross from Jonathan Lewis to put City up 1-0. Lewis latched onto the ball down the right flank, putting the moves on Chicago's Brandon Vincent before cutting the ball back to the top of the box for Villa. That's how you earn yourself some minutes, rookie!
Just a few minutes later, NYCFC found the back of the net again. Though this one was much less aesthetically pleasing than the first goal, they all count. After a scramble in the box, Frederic Brillant found a way to get his head on the ball and a Chicago defender's foot at the same time, nudging the ball into the back of the net.
The flurry of action wasn't over yet, though. Chicago would pull one back in the 54th minute by way of a long-range David Accam strike. NYCFC were looking to break out after clearing a corner kick, but Accam's half-tackle-half-shot attempt from 25 yards struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced in just over the goalline.
NYCFC would have another penalty shout denied in the 61st minute, as Maxi Moralez was judged to have been fouled just outside the Chicago box. A blaze of half-chances from the free kick would follow, but the Fire would be bailed out by an offside call.
NYCFC once again dropped their defensive lines a little bit deeper as the half wore on, but managed to build possession and attacking chances even into the final minutes, when some fancy footwork helped the Blues wind down the clock as the game drew to a close.
City would go onto survive a blizzard of shots from Chicago as they mounted a final push that extended into extra time, thanks in no small part to some heroics from Sean Johnson, who was facing his former team for the first time today.
David Villa's goal put NYCFC ahead just minutes into the second half, and set off a flurry of chances at both ends. Not ten minutes later, the match went from scoreless to 2-1 in favor of NYCFC. Also featuring in the buildup to this goal was Jonathan Lewis, whose brilliant work on the ball and inch-perfect cutback cross to the top of the box set up Villa's opportunity to score.
Man of the Match
Jonathan Lewis, in his full debut, showed what kind of an impact he cam make on a match for NYCFC with a strong 70-minute shift and an assist on David Villa's opener. Lewis' excellent decision making, ability to find space, and constant usefulness as an outlet when NYCFC were under pressure made him an important piece of City's lineup today, and he just might have made an impression on Patrick Vieira, as well.
Social Post of the Game
The social post of the game is unquestionably this tweet:
Stats and Milestones
- David Villa scored his 14th goal of the season to open the scoring
- Frederic Brillant notched his first goal of the season to put NYCFC up 2-0
- Jonathan Lewis got his first start of the season, snagging an assist on the opening goal.
- Alexander Callens made his 21st start of the year. He's played every minute of this MLS season so far.
- NYCFC moved up to 37 points on the season, and are now just one point behind the Fired in the Eastern Conference table.
- NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson beat his former team in his first appearance against them.
How They Lined Up
NYCFC trotted out a lineup that featured three changes from their midweek matchup against Toronto FC, including a first-time starter in Jonathan Lewis. Ethan White got the start in place of RJ Allen, while Frederic took over for the injured Maxime Chanot on the back line. Maxi Moralez was back in the lineup for the second straight match after recovering from his injury.
Chicago played their first match since the international break with a mostly full strength lineup, featuring the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Golden Boot leader Nemanja Nikolic. Dangerous winger David Accam started the match on the bench. Missing was Dax McCarty, who is still with the U.S. National Team as they look to make a run at the Gold Cup title.
NYCFC will take on Toronto FC for the second time in three matches next Sunday. This time, the action will take place at BMO Field in Toronto. With a win, NYCFC could unseat the Reds at the top of the Supporters' Shield standings.