BRONX | Ned Grabavoy scored a brace and David Villa added to his Club-leading tally as New York City FC beat the San Joe Earthquakes 3-2 in front of 28,231 raucous supporters on a beautiful Saturday night at Yankee Stadium.
New York City FC improve to 9-14-7 (34 points) with a pair of home victories this week – the Club also beat Toronto FC 2-0 on Wednesday – while San Jose falls to 11-12-7 (40 points).
"The last three games we’ve just been better all around," Grabavoy said. "As far as playoffs go, we can only control ourselves. We’re going to need some help from other teams, but for me, 2-3 weeks ago we could have laid down and died, but we did the opposite and that’s the most positive."
Added Villa: "These two wins at home have been very important for the team's morale. Six points in four days is very important for morale, too."
After a scoreless back-and-forth first half, New York City FC broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half.
Josh Saunders booted a goal kick into the middle of the field that was won by Frank Lampard and headed on to Grabavoy on the left. The midfielder had a lovely give-and-go with captain David Villa as the latter slid a through ball down the left side for Grabavoy, whose shot deflected off of Clarence Goodson and past goalkeeper David Bringham to make it 1-0.
It was Grabavoy’s first goal for the Club and his first since Oct. 11, 2014, coincidentally against the Earthquakes.
The 32-year-old was involved in a great opportunity in the 59th minute, driving down the left and cutting the back to the top of the 18-yard box to Lampard, but Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer dragged his shot agonizingly wide of the near post.
While the duo didn’t hook up on that opportunity, they made the most of their next chance in the 63rd.
Lampard dribbled down the right side, beat on a defender and served up a teasing cross near the 6-yard box that Grabavoy headed home for a 2-0 advantage.
New York City FC, which came into the match with two headed goals all season, had their second in two minutes against San Jose as Villa got on the end of Angelino’s cross from the left to put the home side up 3-0 after 70 minutes.
It was Villa’s team-leading 16th goal in his debut season in Major League Soccer.
"He looked really focused tonight," head coach Jason Kreis said. "He was intent on making things happen and doing whatever he could for the team. The goal was nice, but the assist was equally as nice -- the weight he put on the ball was inch perfect."
San Jose didn’t lay down, though, getting on the score sheet in the 72nd minute. Quincy Amarikwa out-leapt a crowd of players in the box to get his head on a secondary ball from a corner kick, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
The Earthquakes got within one as Chris Wondolowski scored on a penalty kick following Angelino’s takedown of Amarikwa in the box in the 75th.
The goal by Wondolowski ties him with Kreis for fifth on the MLS all-time scoring list at 108.
"Both teams clearly needed the three points," Kreis said. "Both were dead set on trying to get them. Things were more tightened up in the first half and then both teams were going for things in the second."
New York City FC appeared to take a 1-0 lead in the first half, but Villa was ruled offside in the 29th minute. San Jose quickly took their free kick and Amarikwa raced toward goal, but Saunders came out and stifled the opportunity.
New York City FC look to continue their push for the playoffs next Saturday against Western Conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Kickoff is 10 p.m. ET from BC Place (YES Network, WQBU).