NYCFC Goals: Villa 76mins, Lewis 90+3mins
New England Goals: Bunbury 57mins
A Quick Look
These Boys in Blue just never quit.
New York City FC made it three wins on the spin thanks to a dramatic late comeback against New England Revolution.
Chasing from behind after Teal Bunbury gave New England the lead on 57’, David Villa’s 77th minute equalizer and Jonathan Lewis’s stoppage-time winning goal put the home team five points ahead of Chicago in the Eastern Conference.
Patrick Vieira’s men now have a 14-7-4 record through 25 games and lie in second place, four points behind Toronto.
NYCFC went into this repeat of the Inaugural Season’s Historic Home Opener with a chance to take a stranglehold on an automatic MLS Playoffs qualifying spot.
Following Toronto’s 3-1 win over Chicago on Saturday night, NYC knew that they could end Week 25 of the season five points clear in second place but they were facing a Revolution side boasting three wins in their last four games.
A fairly tepid opening to the match on a hazy Sunday evening in the Bronx gave way on 15’ when some wing wizardry from Jack Harrison gave David Villa a shooting opportunity which the league MVP only just missed the target with.
Opening up his body and taking the strike on first-time, El Guaje beat the goalkeeper but found the sidenetting with his curling shot.
Kelyn Rowe had New England’s best chance of the half, drawing the very best out of Sean Johnson who had to make a fingertip save to keep out the Revolution no.11’s long range strike, touching it onto the post.
Those two moments, one for each side, were the sum total of credible goalscoring opportunities we saw before the interval of a cagey slow-paced encounter.
In his halftime media briefing, Vieira praised the New England backline for their part in making life difficult for his attacking players and that continued after the break when Claude Dielna marked his debut with a last-man tackle to end a promising-looking Harrison run.
This defensive stoicism earned its reward at the other end on 57’ when New England took the lead against the run of play through Bunbury who capitalized on a rare error from Johnson to follow up and slot home a rebound from close range.
Khiry Shelton and Sean Okoli were sent on to join the rescue mission from the bench but it was Villa who levelled things up after the Revolution failed to clear a setpiece, allowing the league’s leading scorer to turn and fire in his 19th of the season on 77’.
Suddenly, NYCFC had the wind in their sails and Okoli had a chance to turn the game around when Sweat found him inside the area two minutes later, but Ugo cleared the crossbar with his attempt.
New England drew the sting from the home team by forcing a number of lengthy stoppages in the remaining minutes to try and run down the clock but another substitute would have the final say on the outcome of this game in the third minute of stoppage-time.
Ben Sweat’s attempted shot found its way to Lewis at the back post and the 19-year old did the rest, thrashing the ball into the top corner for the second pro goal of his career… just a week after his first.
It wasn’t New York’s best performance of the season but it was a thrilling finale and Vieira’s men were good value for the three points.
It wasn’t the prettiest goal this team has scored all season but it was an important one.
Not for the first time in his NYCFC career, Villa was right where he needed to be to find a priceless equalizer when his team were performing below their collective best.
Shelton did brilliantly to make the space for his captain and Villa was never going to miss from there.
Man of the Match
Making his return after missing the trip to LA, Maxi showed exactly what we’d missed with a typically metronomic performance in the no.10 role.
Linking together the midfield and attack, the Argentine playmaker caused plenty of problems for the New England backline with his clever movement and intelligent use of the ball.
Social Post of the Game
Stats and Milestones
- NYCFC now have a 14-7-4 record through 25 games.
- David Villa scored his 19th goal of the season and his 60th for NYCFC
- Villa has now netted 11 in his last ten games
- Jonathan Lewis scored his second goal for NYCFC in as many weeks - also the second of his pro career
- Yangel Herrera will miss the Hudson River Derby on Friday night after picking up a yellow card
- New England are still chasing their first road win of the season
- This was NYCFC's first home win over New England since the Historic Home Opener in 2015
How They Lined Up
Keeping with the 4-3-3 system favored throughout the campaign, Lopez anchored midfield behind Herrera and Moralez, while Allen was a direct replacement for the suspended White.
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Allen, Brillant, Callens, Sweat, Lopez, Herrera, Moralez, Harrison, Wallace, Villa (C)
NYCFC Subs: Johansen, Awuah, Pirlo, Lewis, McNamara, Shelton, Okoli
NYCFC are back at it on Friday night when the final Hudson River Derby of the MLS Regular Season takes place at Red Bull Arena. We return to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday September 6 when Sporting KC are the visitors.