MANCHESTER, England | It seemed fitting that New York City FC’s first-ever goal was scored by the club’s first-ever captain and talisman David Villa.
Tony Taylor added another goal on a thunderous second-half volley as New York City FC exited the field after the first preseason friendly in franchise history with a 2-0 victory over St Mirren on Tuesday evening at City Football Academy.
“I'm certainly pleased with the efforts and performance of the guys," head coach Jason Kreis said. "From my point of view a lot of them are taking on the messages we're giving them. You look at the matches, you're always looking for answers to questions and I think we saw a lot of positives tonight."
New York City FC, which opens their inaugural season in Major League Soccer on March 8, looked dominant throughout against the Scottish Premiership side. The countless possession finally paid off in the 33rd minute with the game’s first goal and the first in franchise history.
Chris Wingert crossed the ball from the left side as it evaded a pair of St Mirren defenders. Villa, Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer, trapped the ball and slotted it home with his left foot. The veteran striker celebrated emphatically, jumping in the air and pumping his fist before being mobbed by his teammates.
Kreis said it was fitting Villa was the one to find the back of the net for the first time in franchise history.
"He's put in a tremendous amount of work and I know it hasn't been easy for him to be in New York City for the past six months without a team, without games to play and training just basically on his own," Kreis said. "It's always pleasing for me to see guys who work so hard and are such good people get positive results and score goals."
New York City FC continued good spells of possession capped by scoring opportunities. Sebastian Velasquez unselfishly laid the ball off to Ned Grabavoy, who came close to doubling the lead in the 40th minute.
"I have a lot of appreciation for the ball and I want my teams to feel the same way," Kreis said. "We want to keep the ball, appreciate the ball and create as many meaningful goal scoring chances as we can with the ball."
The score remained 1-0 at halftime, but the pressure on St Mirren’s net to open the next half – despite nine substitutions -- merely foreshadowed what was to come.
Kwame Watson-Siriboe lofted a 50-yard pass over the top of almost everyone on the pitch, landing it right in front of an on-rushing Taylor, who thumped it past Marian Kello to double New York City FC's advantage in the 69th minute.
New York City FC continues their preseason matches in Manchester on Sunday against Danish side Brondby. Kickoff from CFA is 7 a.m. EST and can be viewed live on NYCFC.com.
“We’re looking forward to keeping on working and hopefully get another good result there,” Taylor said.
For a photo gallery of the match, click HERE.
For a post-match interview with head coach Jason Kreis, click HERE.