NEW YORK CITY, NY – On a night when they needed to bounce back, New York City FC captain David Villa put the team on his. City’s 3-1 victory returns them to the top of the Supporter’s Shield and Eastern Conference tables – for now. Let’s take a look at reasons for confidence and concern after felling the last unbeaten team in MLS.
Special Mention: Coronation
In 2018 I’ve formatted my post-match articles with Confidence and Concern (and sometimes Catastrophe), but I’m happy to – for the first time ever – include a coronation.
David Villa netted a career milestone – his 400th (and 401st) career goal. On a rightful call from Ismael Elfath after using VAR, NYCFC was awarded a penalty kick in the 36th minute. Villa of course slammed it home for the milestone goal, which will be formally celebrated at the club’s next home match (May 19 vs Colorado) when the first 10,000 fans to the stadium will get a replica Captain’s Armband.
Villa has been everything you could want in a first player, in a captain, and in a striker. Here’s to 400 more!
After being rotated out against Portland, Jesus Medina wasted no time getting back in the groove, following up on a rebounded shot from Jo Inge Berget, who was called “the most important player on the field” by his own goalkeeper, Sean Johnson. Berget and Medina bring size and technical ability to a front line that has struggled for both in years past. If Berget can continue to grow more comfortable in the squad and MLS, the City front three can be among the most lethal lines in the league.
Honorable Mention goes to Sebastian Ibeagha, who was filling in for Maxime Chanot (out for personal reasons). Ibeagha has done everything Patrick Vieira has asked of him – including logging some minutes as a defensive midfielder. In an important game, the reigning USL Defender of the Year stepped in seamlessly and asserted himself against a crafty Dallas attack. His effort and quality have brought a calm to the City faithful that hasn’t been there in years past. Hopefully we see that continue, even though he’ll be primarily coming off the bench.
This isn’t the first time Yangel Herrera has landed in the “Concern” paragraph, and it likely won’t be the last.
After a bad giveaway in the 9th minute that led to Dallas’ lone goal, Herrera never forgave himself. He was continually pressing – which is a style City fans have become accustomed to and even welcome – but his efforts were very raw and without direction. Herrera seems to try too hard to make up for his mistakes. He is still 20 years old, and poise is something that Vieira can certainly coach into him. But Herrera needs to learn to just calm down and move on from his mistakes. Once he can do that, he’ll be deadly.
NYCFC travel across the river next weekend to take on their Hudson River Rivals, the New York Red Bulls next Saturday at 2pm.
Don’t forget to check out the NYCFC Nation Podcast and the brand-new New York City Football Podcast. New episodes every week!