New York City FC captured their third-place in the Eastern Conference standings with a grand 3-1 victory over Minnesota United at Yankee Stadium.
After Alexander Callens tied the score, 1-1, with a 38th-minute goal, Jack Harrison, and David Villa scored on the other side of halftime to put the match to bed for NYCFC. Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the 9th minute with Christian Ramirez’s team-leading to 10th goal of the season.
The victory places Patrick Vieira’s men at 33 points from 18 matches this season, they’re two points back of conference leaders Toronto FC and a point adrift of second-placed Chicago Fire, though both teams hold a game in hand.
NYCFC played without defenders Ethan White and RJ Allen, who were both benched by coach Vieira for being late to a pre-match meeting. Ronald Matarrita started at left back with Ben Sweat moving to the right side, and Matarrita had to be subbed out in the 10th minute due to injury.
Villa’s goal was his 11th of the season, tops for New York City FC this season. Rodney Wallace and Sweat provided assists on the goals for Harrison and Callens.
- 9′ – MNUFC – Christian Ramirez
- 38′ – NYC – Alexander Callens
- 52′ – NYC – Jack Harrison
- 63′ – NYC – David Villa
- New York City FC with 33 points are at 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference
- Minnesota United FC with 18 points are at 9th position in the Western Conference
MIDFIELD DOMINANCE: Alexander Ring, Harrison, Tommy McNamara and Wallace — pushed up to the wing with two players benched by Vieira for being late to a pre-match team meeting — controlled the pace and the possession in the NYCFC midfield with precision. New York City won the possession battle 64 to 36 percent and completed 87 percent of its passes, giving MNUFC little opportunity to mount much of a consistent attack.
VILLA AT 52: Villa’s goal was of his own creation, as he dribbled down the flank, cut in and lost a defender, regained control of a heavy touch, kept his feet, cleared space and fired into the net with a left-footed shot. It was the 52nd in an already-storied MLS career.
NO RIGHT BACKS, NO PROBLEM: NYCFC’s top two right backs, White and Allen, were held out. It was cause for major concern for Vieira, especially when Ramirez scored early for Minnesota and Matarrita went down. But the backline wasn’t tested much after that, as Minnesota took only six shots.