NYCFC Goals: Villa 12mins & 49mins
Montreal Goals: Taider 52mins, Piatti 55mins
A Quick Look
New York City FC signed off on Preseason 2018 with a 2-2 tie with Montreal Impact in St Petersburg on Saturday evening.
David Villa scored a pair of golazos either half - the first, a delightful dink on 12', before he served up an inch-perfect free-kick on 49’ to double the advantage.
Montreal hit back with two goals in two minutes from Saphir Taider and Ignacio Piatti immediately after to make it 2-2 which was how it stayed.
Following defeats to LA Galaxy and Atletico San Luis Potosi, Patrick Vieira named his most familiar lineup of preseason so far, featuring just two 2018 newcomers in the shape of Jesus Medina and Anton Tinnerholm.
That blend of the familiar and the new served up the first chance of the game on 5’ when Alexander Callens produced a tremendous switch of play to Medina who swung in the inviting cross which Maxi Moralez flicked on towards Villa but Montreal scrambled it away and cleared their lines.
The pressing was aggressive and the cadence wasn’t a million miles away from Regular Season tempo as both sides set about going into their season-openers with best feet forward.
Villa was next to go close on 10’ when he arced a free-kick towards goal but, despite the lovely shape on the take, the ball kissed the top of the bar and its way over the top.
That proved to be a warning shot from the great man as he opened his preseason account just two minutes later with his latest golazo.
Moralez earned equal credit for the goal with his pressure and his assist, but the finish from Villa was both delicate and unerring, as he cheekily dinked over the onrushing Evan Bush to put his side 1-0 up.
At the other end, Ignacio Piatti attempted to replicate Villa’s goal with a lifted effort over Sean Johnson midway through the half but the NYC ‘keeper did what Bush couldn’t, getting a big paw to the chip and turning over.
Bush was wise to Rodney Wallace’s header from a deep Ronald Matarrita cross on 32, flinging himself to his right and tipping wide when the ball had looked destined for the corner of the net, before he defied Villa from close range on 39’ when El Guaje looked odds-on to double his tally.
These examples of excellent goalkeeping meant that the 1-0 scoreline held into the half-time interval of an entertaining, high quality first 45’ but it wouldn’t stay that way for long...
Villa, who had already gone close with a free-kick from range in the first half, served up an even better one four minutes into the half, bending the ball over the wall and into the corner of the net.
That 2-0 lead would not last long, however, as the Impact hit back with a quickfire double from Saphir Taider and Ignacio Piatti on 52’ and 55’ to make it 2-2.
Despite this two-goal comeback, City retook control of the game, solidifying at the back and continuing to ask questions of the Montreal backline but their pressure would go unrewarded.
All in all, an excellent workout and the best performance of preseason so far from the Boys in Blue.
Star of the Game
Who else? El Guaje brought his Regular Season form to this encounter, scoring two world class goals to serve notice on his intentions for 2018 to the rest of the league with just a week until go time.
How They Lined Up
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Tinnerholm, Chanot, Callens, Matarrita, Ring, Herrera, Moralez, Wallace, Medina, Villa (C) (Mackic 88')
Subs: Rawls, Abdul-Salaam, Ibeagha, Felix, Sweat, Sands, Awuah, Tajouri-Shradi, Lewis, Lansade, Polvara
Montreal: Bush, Raitala, Cabrera, Diallo, Petrasso, Piette, Taïder, Krolicki, Piatti (C), Mancosu, Edwards
No more dress rehearsals… MLS kicks off next weekend with NYCFC taking on Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday March 4 at 7.30pm ET, while the Home Opener vs. LA Galaxy is coming up fast on Sunday March 11. Get your tickets below...