MONTREAL | As fireworks were going off throughout the United States in honor of Independence Day, it was David Villa who provided his own spectacle on Saturday night at Stade Saputo.
The New York City FC captain scored two goals, including a picturesque free kick in the 82nd minute, as the Club beat the Montreal Impact 2-1.
New York City FC improve to 5-8-5 (20 points), while the Impact fall to 5-7-3 (18 points).
"I think it was really critical that the guys dug down and dug deep," head coach Jason Kreis said. "It certainly wasn’t our prettiest performance but sometimes you need to have guts and work extremely hard for each other and that’s what the guys did tonight. I’m really pleased with the effort and hopefully we can move forward because our soccer performance needs to get better. Three points in the bag in a very difficult place to play is something to be proud of."
Villa was taken down just outside the box following a pass to Pablo Alvarez in the 82nd minute. The referee waited for any advantage before blowing the whistle to halt play. Villa, whose goal in the 35th minute gave the Club a 1-0 advantage, eyed up his kick from about 22 yards away and calmly curled it around the wall into the low corner at the near post for the match winner.
It was the forward’s team-leading eighth goal of the season.
New York City FC took a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute compliments of their talisman. Laurent Ciman tried clearing the ball from deep in Impact territory, but it was intercepted by Kwadwo Poku. Poku fed the ball to Tommy McNamara who drove toward the box and dished the ball to Patrick Mullins.
Mullins, who was at the top of the 18 with his back toward goal, continued the move to the far side, sliding the ball to Villa. Villa beat Ambroise Oyongo toward the byline and fired a low shot at the far post that hit the back of the net.
The score remained 1-0 at halftime.
Montreal, which had 25 shots (10 on target), was awarded a penalty kick in the 76th minute as McNamara was called for a handball. Andres Romero served the ball into the box toward Ignacio Piatti, who was being guarded by McNamara, but his hand made contact with the ball as the referee pointed to the spot.
Piatti accurately slammed the kick into the corner, past a diving Josh Saunders, to tie the match at 1-1.
New York City FC rattled off their third consecutive victory on the road after going 0-4-2 in their first six travels away from Yankee Stadium. The Impact’s four-match home streak was snapped with the loss.
"I thought our spacing was good, I thought our physicality was good and we were able to challenge for a lot of balls," said Saunders, who had eight saves. "I saw a willing effort to get three points out there. The effort was great from the guys."
The Club return to the field against Toronto FC on July 12. Kickoff is 3 p.m. EDT from Yankee Stadium.
"I’m hopeful we can continue forward with some momentum to know we’ve won four of our last five and only have one loss in the last six," Kreis said. "Lots of positives to draw off of."