NYCFC – 2
Houston Dynamo – 0
Match recap …
David Villa struck for a brace to lift New York City FC to a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo Friday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Villa, who has 21 goals on the season and has taken over the lead in the race for the MLS Golden Boot, helped NYCFC move back into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Toronto FC.
The captain opened the scoring in the 52nd minute. Jack Harrison played a short corner kick to Andrea Pirlo, who quickly passed to Villa, who made a cutting run. Villa’s first touch led him to the right edge of the six-yard box and then he slipped the ball inside the far post, and through Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis’ legs, from an extreme angle to give NYCFC (14-9-9) a 1-0 lead.
After Pirlo put his free kick from just outside the 18-yard box off the Houston wall in the 82nd minute, Villa ensured three massive road points with his second goal in the first minute of second half stoppage time. Villa took a pass from Tony Taylor and blasted the ball into the net from 19 yards out on a counterattack.
How they lined up …
Patrick Vieira made two changes from the squad that defeated the Chicago Fire, 4-1, at Yankee Stadium last Friday with RJ Allen starting at right back in place of Jason Hernandez and Tommy McNamara replacing the injured Steven Mendoza in the three-man midfield.
Federico Bravo came on for Khiry Shelton for NYCFC’s first substitution in the 77th minute. Three minutes later, Tony Taylor replaced Jack Harrison and Jason Hernandez came on for Allen in the 89th minute.
Man of the match …
For the second time in two weeks, David Villa scored a brace, his sixth of the season.
Villa showcased his finesse and power with both goals. On the first goal, he slipped a shot from a narrow angle through Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis’ legs and inside the far post and he then blasted the insurance goal in from 19 yards out on a counterattack in the first minute of second half stoppage time.
Villa did more than score the critical goal. He also dropped back in midfield to combine with Andrea Pirlo before playing a ball across the field to Khiry Shelton in the 67th minute. He also drew a foul that led to a Pirlo free kick eight minutes from full time.
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Key moment …
David Villa’s 20th goal of the season in the 52nd minute was a thing of beauty. Villa started his run by peeling off his defender before running around Jefferson Mena and Frederic Brillant and into space to receive Andrea Pirlo’s pass. His first touch was angled toward the goal and Villa won the footrace to the ball before finding a sliver of space to slip the ball through and into the side netting.
Stats and milestones …
- With two games remaining in the regular season, NYCFC moves into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with 51 points.
- NYCFC has more road wins (seven) than any other team in Major League Soccer this season.
- David Villa struck for a brace for the sixth time this season.
- David Villa now has 21 goals on the season and he has taken over the lead in the MLS Golden Boot race.
- Andrea Pirlo picked up an assist, his 11th of the year.
- Jack Harrison also had an assist, his third in his last three games.
- Tony Taylor registered his first assist of the season.
- Federico Bravo also had an assist, his first MLS point.
- Josh Saunders earned his eighth clean sheet of the season, one shy of his career high set with the LA Galaxy in 2012.
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What it means …
NYCFC moves back into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with 51 points, two more than second-place Toronto FC with two games to play.
After a friendly against Liga MX side Necaxa next Friday, NYCFC plays its final road game of the regular season against D.C. United on Oct. 16 before returning to Yankee Stadium to face the Columbus Crew SC Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.