NYCFC Goals: Harrison 51mins, Villa 90mins
Jack Harrison's 51st minute goal from a Ronald Matarrita assist and one of the best goals MLS has ever seen from David Villa gave New York City FC their first away win of the 2017 MLS Regular Season at Philadelphia Union's Talen Energy Stadium.
Friday night under the lights in the City of Brotherly Love and it couldn't have gone any better for the Boys in Blue as they deservedly clinched their first road win of 2017.
David Villa scored an early contender for goal of the season in stoppage-time to secure the three points.
With the hosts desperately chasing a first win since August and NYCFC seeking to put last weekend’s defeat to DC behind them, you always felt something had to give in the City of Brotherly Love.
Five minutes were on the clock when Andre Blake was called into action for the first time when Alex Ring’s arcing cross almost caught out the Philadelphia goalkeeper and found its way into the back of the net.
Whether he meant it or not, only he’ll know, but that early warning shot shocked The Union into life and they began exerting some early pressure, firing off a couple of wayward shots on Sean Johnson’s goal in the first 10’.
There were some good moments from Vieira’s side, including a mazy run from Jack Harrison but the opening 20’ certainly belonged to Jim Curtin’s men who were pressing their visitors incessantly and forcing misplaced passes.
However, it was Harrison and NYCFC who drew out the first good save of the game, when Jack fired off a left-footed strike towards the bottom corner which was tipped around the post by a full stretch Blake.
It was a great save from The Union no.1 but anything he could do, Johnson can do just as well… as he showed when he got down low to paw away a ferocious volley from Alejandro Bedoya on 27’.
A moment of controversy followed as NYCFC were denied what looked like a clear penalty when Richie Marquez blocked Villa’s goalbound shot with his hands but referee Jose Carlos Rivero was not moved to point to the spot and then Moralez saw his follow-up saved.
No goals at the back but no lack of entertainment and Vieira called for his players to have more courage and to commit to playing a few yards further forward in his halftime interview with Julie Stewart-Binks.
This increased emphasis on offense paid rich dividends five minutes into the second half when NYCFC scored the night’s first goal.
It was a brilliant move too, with Ronald Matarrita slipping in a stunning through ball with the outside of his foot to Jack who did the rest with an emphatic thumping finish under Blake.
It was clear to see that the goal imbued the away team with a fresh gust of confidence as the chances racked up thick and fast in the following minutes.
A few minutes after Blake came to the rescue when Ethan White shot, Wallace tried to be too cute with an open goal and had his dink cleared off the line before Moralez volleyed over the bar with the rebound.
It was looking to be a nervy end to the game for NYCFC after those missed chances until David Villa produced one of the best goals of his entire career, shooting from 53.5 yards out, volleying over Blake into the net to deservedly earn his team their third win of the campaign in jaw-dropping style.
Seconds after NYCFC should have scored their second goal to clinch the game through Wallace, Maxime Chanot came up with a huge sliding tackle to halt a Philadelphia Union breakaway on 70'.
This perfectly-timed slide stopped The Union from hitting back to tie the game against the run of play and showed that Chanot is a man in peak form in his second season at NYCFC.
Man of the Match…
The winger always looked like the most likely source of a goal to break the deadlock and he delivered it in fine style with a crashing finish under Blake after a clever run around the back of the Philadelphia defense.
It wasn’t just his goal which caught the eye on the night – he was a constant menace to the Union backline, slaloming through challenges and exchanging passes with teammates throughout the contest.
Social Post of the Game…
Stats and Milestones…
- David Villa's goal came from 53.5 yards away - the longest MLS goal in ESPN's data set (since 2012)
- Ethan White returned to the side against Philadelphia Union, who he represented earlier in his career.
- Jack Harrison scored his second MLS goal of the season.
- Ronald Matarrita got his third assist of the campaign for Harrison’s goal.
- David Villa scored his fourth goal of the MLS season.
- NYCFC earned their third win of the season and first on the road.
- It was NYCFC's second clean sheet of the season as they shut out Philadelphia.
How They Lined Up…
NYCFC XI: Johnson, White, Chanot, Callens, Matarrita, Ring, Pirlo, Moralez, Harrison, Wallace, Villa
Head Coach Patrick Vieira opted to make one change to the team which took on Philadelphia Union.
Following the road defeat to DC United last weekend, Vieira brought Ethan White back into the lineup in place of Frederic Brillant.
White lined up at right-back on the opposite side to Ronald Mataritta, with Alexander Callens and Maxime Chanot in between.
Alex Ring and Andrea Pirlo anchored the midfield, while Rodney Wallace, Jack Harrison and Maxi Moralez took their places behind David Villa.
NYCFC return to Yankee Stadium on Sunday where they will take on Orlando City at 1.30pm. Tickets are available below…