A week after scoring two goals in a 4-1 win over the Chicago Fire in a performance NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira lauded as one of his best, David Villa again struck for a brace in a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo to put NYCFC top of the Eastern Conference table Friday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
“David just played the way the team played,” Vieira said. “He was really aggressive up front, he closed them down, he made it really difficult for them. Then when we create chances, he knows how to score goals and this was a really big David Villa tonight.”
Indeed, Vieira said his team’s overall performance was “really close to our best.”
“I think we played some fantastic football, we dictated the game, we control the game and we respected the game,” Vieira said.
And Villa led again.
He scored his 20th goal of the season from a nearly impossible angle following a short corner from Jack Harrison to Andrea Pirlo. Villa somehow snuck his shot through the legs of Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis and into the side netting to give NYCFC a 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute.
Villa then put the game away in the first minute of second half stoppage time with a blast from 19 yards out. It was the sixth time this season he scored two goals in a game.
It’s a goal that secured three huge points for NYCFC and moved Villa atop the race for the MLS Golden Boot, one goal in front of Bradley Wright-Phillips of the Red Bulls.
“My job is to help the team first of all,” Villa said. “Of course if its possible with the goals its better than never. We scored two goals today, thank you for the team to make the hard work. Without them it’s impossible for me to score two goals. We are happy with the game.”
Villa said he’s especially pleased with the overall response from the team in their first game since securing a first-ever bid to the MLS Cup playoffs.
“We are very happy and very proud. It’s not easy,” he said. “After mathematically qualifying to the playoffs, normally teams can be a little bit relaxed, but the team is working stronger than ever.”
And with Villa leading the side, NYCFC is determined to finish at the top of the east and avoid the one-game elimination round contest.
“The team from the first minute to the end was very strong, always following the game plan, always fighting every battle,” Villa said. “We are happy and we are proud. We need to enjoy the result and start thinking of the next game.”