NYCFC Goals: Villa 87'
DC United Goals: Birnbaum 58'
New York City FC were nearly undone by opportunistic visitors for the second time in a week but David Villa saved the day late on vs. DC United.
The visitors scored with their only shot on goal, a header from Steve Birnbaum on 58’, which looked for a long time like the winner until El Guaje came up with the 87’ equalizer with a free-kick.
Domènec Torrent’s side once again dominated the game but were unable to find their way past a defensively stout DC side until yet another special moment from the captain with time running out.
With eight players missing through injury, international break and suspension, it was at least an end to NYCFC's two-game losing streak.
England and Spain’s record goalscorers had only shared a field in their storied careers on one previous occasion until Saturday’s showdown in the BX.
Last time Wayne Rooney and David Villa lined up in a tunnel together, it was the 2011 UEFA Champions League final at Wembley and the day ended with a winners’ medal around Villa’s neck.
Though there was no trophy on the line this time, El Guaje and his band of Blues were out to restore form and pride following a bitter defeat to New England on Wednesday night.
The NYCFC captain immediately set about providing the perfect response, volleying into the outside of the post on 4’ from an acute angle, just to state intentions.
On 11’, Taty Castellanos forced a strong save from Bill Hamid, setting the tone for a dominant opening half from Domènec Torrent’s men, who also went close through Alexander Callens from a great cross from the returning Eloi Amagat.
Villa finally forced the ball into the back of the net on 38’ but it was ruled out for a perceived push on a DC defender in the buildup – it looked a generous award on replay but it remained goalless going in at the interval.
It only stayed that way for 13 second half minutes as DC United scored with their first attempt on goal, a header by Birnbaum from a Wayne Rooney free-kick, just seconds after City were denied what looked like a clear penalty for a foul on Villa.
Maxi Moralez almost found an instant response with a volley from six yards out which flew wide, while Ronald Matarrita forced an outstanding save from Hamid with an arcing effort on 68’.
It was starting to feel like there was a forcefield in front of the opposition goal for the second time this week, with Anton Tinnerholm threatening with a volley on 77’ and Castellanos getting into good positions on multiple occasions but there always seemed to be a DC defender or Hamid on hand to smuggle it away last ditch.
It felt like it was going to take something special to break through the DC resistance and that’s just what David served up with a brilliant curling free-kick which left Hamid no chance, with just three minutes remaining.
Despite more late pressure, 1-1 was how it stayed.
NYCFC.com Star of the Game
After a nightmare debut vs. Red Bulls which saw the Catalan midfielder sent-off, this was a much better outing for Amagat, who joined the club in the midseason transfer window.
Composed on the ball and strong in the tackle, Eloi showed he has a role to play in the remaining weeks of the Regular Season.
Social Post of the Match…
In a game oddly reminiscent of Wednesday night's frustrating performance around goal, @NYCFC dominated in shots and possession but could only manage a goal. NYCFC need to find their scoring touch again, but you can't hate on the effort. #NYCvDC— Nick Chávez (@NickChavezMLS) September 8, 2018
Stats and Milestones
- James Sands started his second game for NYCFC, just three days after his first start
- Eloi Amagat made his second start for the Boys in Blue
- David Villa scored his 11th goal of the season (tied for team high with Ismael Tajouri-Shradi)
How they lined up…
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Tinnerholm, Ibeagha, Callens, Sweat, Amagat, Sands (Sands 81'), Matarrita, Moralez, Castellanos, Villa (C)
Subs: Stuver, Awuah, Scally, Bedoya, McNamara
The Boys in Blue take a break from action before returning on September 22 for a road trip to Montreal. Our next home game is on Wednesday, September 26 vs. Chicago Fire.