BRONX |David Villa continued doing what he does best, but his team-leading 13th goal wasn’t enough as New York City FC dropped a 3-2 decision to Montreal in front of a sell-out crowd of 27,645 on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Tommy McNamara added a goal in the 85th minute as New York City FC fell to 6-10-6 (24 points), while the Impact improved to 8-8-3 (27 points).
"I know it’s hot out there and these are difficult games to play in, but there was another team out there that had more energy, more effort and more commitment than we did for 45 minutes," head coach Jason Kreis said. "But I'm pleased with our response in the second half. I’m also pleased our team is coming together. This is not an easy place to be in when you’re in the middle of the season and we’ve had as many changes as we’ve had. We have to continue to push forward and continue to make efforts to improve."
Dominic Oduro and Ignacio Piatti gave the visitors a 2-0 lead in the first half, but New York City FC got within 2-1 on Villa’s converted penalty kick in the 68th. Villa back-heeled a lovely pass to an overlapping McNamara down the left side. The midfielder was tripped up in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Villa converted his fourth penalty of the season to make it a one-goal game.
"We needed to limit Frank to under 30 minutes," Kreis said. "If our training staff had their way we would have limited him to under 20, but we made a negotiation so 25 was the answer. It was great timing because we just scored a goal and would get another emotional push with his introduction."
Added Lampard: "It was fantastic to run out on the pitch at Yankee Stadium with the fans showing their support. I really enjoyed that moment, obviously.
Montreal added to its advantage as Piatti added his own successful penalty kick in the 84th minute. New York City FC continued fighting and made it a one-goal game less than a minute later as McNamara rifled a left-footed attempt into the bottom far corner for his fourth goal of the campaign.
New York City FC couldn’t get in a rhythm early in the match and Oduro’s goal in the sixth minute didn’t make things any easier.
Laurent Ciman played a long ball over the top that the speedy forward latched onto. Oduro beat Jefferson Mena, who was making his first start for the Club, causing goalie Josh Saunders to come off his line. Oduro beat the goalkeeper as well and easily tapped it in for a 1-0 lead.
New York City FC fell victims of the long ball again in the 32nd, but it was Piatti who made them pay this time.
Andres Romero played the ball over the top and the Impact captain gained possession by outracing Jason Hernandez. Saunders (six saves) again came off his line, but Piatti chipped the ’keeper to make it 2-0.
That scored remained at the break.
"This is a disappointing one for sure," McNamara said. It was a huge opportunity for us today specifically for our goal which is to make the playoffs. To come out in the first half the way we did, give up two goals, be down at halftime and having to chase the game is disappointing for us.
"We weren’t good enough on the ball. When we did turn over the ball, they caught us. They had speed up top and played their counter-attacking soccer very effectively in the first half."
The duo got involved quickly, with a nice series of passes in the 63rd minute that set up a shot from distance by Andrea Pirlo, who was making his first start for New York City FC.
New York City FC return to action on Sunday, August 9 against the Red Bulls. Kickoff is 7 p.m. ET from Red Bull Arena (FOX Sports 1, WFAN, WADO).
"There are things we need to improve because we aren’t winning enough games," Lampard said. "I don’t have too many fears because with the quality of this team I think once we get a bit of time together, it’s within us to do what we want. There’s enough ability here to go on a run of wins and put us in competition for a playoff spot which is what we all want."