NYCFC Goals: Harrison 9mins, McNamara 66mins
San Jose Goals: Urena 5mins
What a turnaround! On April 1, NYCFC proved they were no fools as they recovered from an early concession courtesy of an equalizer from Jack Harrison and a brilliant team move finished off by Tommy McNamara to defeat San Jose Earthquakes 2-1.
San Jose had not beaten their hosts in two attempts but they had an excellent opportunity to strike an early blow in this third meeting when Chris Wondolowski raced onto a pass from Darwin Ceren into a one-on-one situation but Sean Johnson came up big with the block.
That proved to be just a warning shot for the Earthquakes as they took the lead a few minutes later through Marcos Urena who slotted calmly past Johnson at the near post following a fortuitous bounce off the knee of Alexander Callens.
However, the away side's lead would last just four minutes as NYCFC equalized with a goal of the highest quality.
Ronald Matarrita’s cross to the top of the box was flicked sublimely into the path of Harrison by Villa and the Englishman’s shot on the turn was too hot for David Bingham to handle.
It was the perfect reaction from Patrick Vieira’s side and, following this tempestuous opening, things settled down a little, allowing the boys in blue began to dictate the rhythm of the game, moving through the gears, piling on the pressure as the first half minutes ticked by.
This increased pressure almost earned its reward on 40’ but a brave piece of last-ditch defending by Victor Bernandez denied Rodney Wallace his third goal in as many starts on the Etihad Pitch.
It was a familiar Bronx tale for NYCFC at the halftime break as they boasted more than 70% of the possession and more than double the number of passes to San Jose but would they get the three points they deserved in the second period?
Hearts were in mouths ten minutes after the restart when Urena went down in the box under a challenge from Andrea Pirlo but referee Jorge Gonzalez felt the Costa Rican went down cheaply and waved play on.
That controversial moment aside, the pattern of the game had continued with Vieira's men bossing the game but unable to find a way through the Earthquakes defensive traffic.
Tommy McNamara was introduced on 62' and he only took four minutes to make his presence felt, finishing off a stunning team move to make it 2-1.
Another Villa backheel was involved in the silky smooth build-up play but it was Matarrita who produced the key pass, pulling it back for Tommy unselfishly when he might have gone for goal himself, laying it on a silver platter for his teammate.
San Jose's hopes of getting back into the game were dealt a huge blow when Bernandez was shown a straight red card for a nasty rake down McNamara's leg with his studs on 79'.
That man advantage certainly eased the nerves for NYCFC as they held on relatively comfortably for their second win of the season.
It was crucial that NYCFC hit back quickly after San Jose’s early opening goal and they did just that with a brilliant equalizer.
Harrison’s finish was aided by some less than perfect handling by Bingham in the San Jose goal but the assist from Villa, his second of the season, was a pass which would have unlocked any defense in the world.
A stunning backheel into space for Jack, it was a key moment in the game for Vieira’s men.
Man of the Match…
He might not have scored against San Jose but the captain provided two of the moments which really made a difference to the outcome of this game.
We've covered the first but his door-opening, no-look-Cruyff-turn-pass for Matarrita was just about the best secondary assist you'll see this season.
Social Post of the Match…
Stats and Milestones…
- NYCFC are now unbeaten in 11 Regular Season home games (9W 2D)
- Vieira's side came from behind to win a game for the first time in 2017.
- John Stertzer was named in an NYCFC matchday squad for the first time.
- Jack Harrison scored his first goal of the season.
- The goal was Jack’s fifth for NYCFC.
- Tommy McNamara scored his first goal of the season.
- San Jose took the lead for the first time in a game against NYCFC at the third time of asking.
- NYCFC have had more possession than their opponents and completed more passes in every game so far in 2017.
How They Lined Up…
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Matarrita, Callens, Chanot, White, Pirlo, Ring, Moralez, Wallace, Harrison, Villa (C)
Head Coach Patrick Vieira named an unchanged lineup to the one which faced Montreal Impact before the international break.
Ethan White retained his place at right-back behind Jack Harrison who lined up on the opposite wing to Rodney Wallace. In midfield, it was Alex Ring, Andrea Pirlo and Maxi Moralez who looked to create chances for David Villa up front.
Behind them, Maxime Chanot and Alexander Callens partnered up in the center of defense, while Ronald Matarrita was picked at left-back in front of Sean Johnson in the NYCFC goal.
NYCFC return to action next Saturday at 4pm ET with the return game against DC United at RFK Stadium. The next home game is versus Orlando City on 4/23 at 1.30pm ET - click the link below to get your tickets!