Jonathan Lewis thrived in his debut start for NYCFC, playing an instrumental role in a gutsy win over the team directly above them in the table.
A ten-man New York City side found themselves deadlocked at zeroes with the Fire at halftime, reliant upon the pace and relentlessness of Lewis and captain David Villa to stretch the Chicago defense and break the mounting pressure.
A flurry of goals would come just a few minutes into the second frame, including two for the good guys. Lewis found himself directly involved in one, and his speed on the wings helped create the other. Through his 72 minutes, the rookie provided a release valve for the pressure the Fire were able to create by virtue of their extra man, made quick decisions on the ball, and popped up in plenty of dangerous spots.
Our first-round SuperDraft pick might just have made a case to Patrick Vieira for even more minutes.
Lewis played an important role throughout the whole match, but it's hard to look any further than David Villa's opening goal—a stunning volley that flipped the match on its head—when looking for a single moment in which Lewis' impact was felt.
Maxi Moralez released Lewis down the right flank with a well-weighted pass, and Lewis created space for himself before sliding a quick cutback cross to Villa, who made no mistake.
The rookie didn't hesitate to pick his pass when the moment arrived, and his quick thinking helped him notch an assist in his first-ever start. That kind of attacking intelligence is something that often eludes rookies as they adjust to MLS' pace of play and the tactical nuances of their team, but Lewis showed a knack for hitting quick passes and finding space in high-leverage areas.
In a sport where pace is only half the battle, Lewis' toolkit could help elevate his game to the next level under the tutelage of Patrick Vieira.
In Jonathan's Words...
"I think that we made our chances count. So, when we got the ball forward, our passes up front to me and David, they were precise and we took the two chances we got to score. Most of all, we worked really hard today and we outworked a team with one less man. That’s why we got the victory.
"We have to keep it up, but if we come out every game and outwork a team like we did today, I think that no one can really beat us and we’ll be in a very good situation for moving forward."
The Fans Said...