NYCFC Goals: Lewis 54mins, Villa 72mins
LA Galaxy Goals:
A Quick Look
The Rookie’s first pro goal on 54’ came at the end of a sublime solo run, capped with a brilliant strike from the edge of the area before David Villa matched it with a stunning strike of his own to make it 2-0 after 72’.
However, the night belonged to Man of the Match Johnson who made six incredible saves to keep one of the most deserved clean sheets you will ever see, giving NYCFC a 2-0 victory which puts the Boys in Blue in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 13-7-4 record through 24 games.
Following Chicago’s 3-1 defeat to Columbus earlier in the night, NYCFC went into this one knowing that a win would take them up into second place in the Eastern Conference and into one of those prized automatic MLS Playoffs berths.
In the pre-match, Patrick Vieira said nothing less than a repeat of the performance which took the Boys in Blue to a second Hudson River Derby win of the campaign last weekend would be enough to clinch a first-ever road win at the home of the Galaxy and that's what he got.
The suspended Maxi Moralez remained in New York but even down a DP, the visitors made a confident, strong start with the pressing on point to win back the ball whenever it was in LA’s possession.
However, it was the hosts who went closest to the opener inside the first 15’ when a Romain Alessandrini cross deflected off Ben Sweat’s boot and would have looped over Sean Johnson into the net if not for a world class fingertip save from the NYCFC stopper.
That was the best chance either team carved out in the opening half an hour of a hard-fought but unspectacular game but LA would go close again on 37’ when Emmanuel Boateng curled in a dangerous ball across the face of goal but Alexander Callens’ excellent positioning prevented Gyasi Zardes from reaching the cross.
Johnson came to his team’s rescue once again a minute later when Pele van Aanholt volleyed in a rocket from the edge of the box but there was the NYCFC no.1 with another strong hand to tip the ball over the bar.
There was a real blow for Vieira just before the break as Alex Ring picked up a yellow card, meaning he’ll miss next Sunday’s home match vs. New England Revolution.
LA Galaxy had certainly enjoyed the better of the first half and they looked dangerous again a minute into the second when Johnson made his third big save of the night, racing out when Boateng was played through and spreading himself wide to make the block.
Ten minutes into the second period, NYCFC made the breakthrough against the run of play and boy, it was worth waiting for…
Lewis picked up the ball on the touchline and slalomed through a sea of challenges before unleashing an unstoppable curling effort which kissed the underside of the crossbar on its way into the net.
Not a bad way to open your pro account…
Ashley Cole provided a reminder of the fragility of NYCFC’s lead with a scissor-kick off the bar on 68’ but four minutes later, the MLS MVP served up another devastating moment of brilliance to secure the points.
Bagging his 18th of the season in style, Villa let rip with a 25-yard screamer which flew into the upper 90, leaving Brian Rowe grasping for air.
Johnson made sure of the Man of the Match award with three more excellent saves in the final ten minutes and the Boys in Blue held on for a second brilliant victory inside a week.
It's tempting to select Lewis's golazo as the key moment but Johnson's save from Boateng ten minutes earlier is the one we're going to go for.
It completed a hat-trick of excellent saves from the NYCFC goalkeeper as he smothered the shot to preserve parity, laying the foundations for a memorable away day in the City of Angels.
Man of the Match
One of the best goalkeeping performances you will ever see.
In the first half, Johnson made two brilliant saves to deny a Galaxy team who were enjoying one of their best halves of the season at the StubHub Center and he made four more unbelievable stops in the second period to keep his well-deserved clean sheet.
Social Post of the Game
A live look at Sean Johnson in goal tonight: pic.twitter.com/V5i9WVWPMM— The Third Rail (@ThirdRailSC) August 13, 2017
Stats and Milestones
- David Villa scored his 18th goal of the season to extend his lead in the Golden Boot race
- Villa has scored in every appearance vs. LA Galaxy
- NYCFC won at the StubHub Center for the first time
- NYCFC won back-to-back games for the first time since June
- Jonathan Lewis scored the first professional goal of his career
- NYCFC are now 13-7-4 for the 2017 season and lie in second place in the Conference.
- Maxi Moralez missed this game through suspension.
How They Lined Up
Vieira made one enforced change to his lineup for this clash with the Galaxy, bringing in Tommy McNamara in place of the suspended Maxi Moralez who stayed back in New York.
Elsewhere, the XI was the exact same one which bested Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium last Sunday, although Rodney Wallace returned to the fold by starting out the night on the bench.
NYCFC XI: Johnson, White, Callens, Brillant, Sweat, Ring, Herrera, McNamara, Harrison, Lewis, Villa (C)
NYCFC Subs: Johansen, Awuah, Lopez, Pirlo, Wallace, Shelton, Okoli
NYCFC return to action on Sunday August 20 when New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium. Get your tickets below!