Blog Written by Alessandro Pugliese (@sandro_pugliese):
The Los Angeles Galaxy made their first-ever visit to Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon to face off against New York City Football Club. Both teams came into the match with 38 points despite the Galaxy having two less matches. After failing to win appeals, NYCFC were without both head coach Patrick Viera and Maxime Chanot due to suspension.
For all the stars on the field, this game did not exactly live up to its hype. An early goal from David Villa off a rebound was the difference as NYCFC prevailed for their fourth straight victory at home. The teenager Jack Harrison brilliantly found Ronald Matarrita out wide on the left-flank whose ensuing shot was deflected by L.A. goalkeeper Clement Diop, only for David Villa to finish with an easy tap-in. However, replays suggest that David Villa was very likely offside at the time of Matarrita’s shot and the goal should have been disallowed. Nevertheless the Spaniard tallied his 16th goal this season, tied with Toronto’s Giovinco for most in the league.
Even after the sixth minute goal both sides seemed stuck in first gear. Villa and Harrison both had good chances but failed to capitalize and double the lead for NYCFC. Josh Saunders got his fingertips to Nigel De Jong’s bicycle kick in the 45th minute to ensure NYCFC went into halftime with the lead.
Bruce Arena’s side had some decent opportunities in the second half, most notably a Robbie Keane header and a left-footed shot from inside the box by Jelle Van Damme. NYCFC were able to hold on and made a statement that they can challenge for the Supporters Shield this year.
When Brian Lewis of BigAppleSoccer.com asked Andrea Pirlo if New York could win MLS Cup this year he responded, “Maybe. We are working game after game," he said through an interpreter. "We have been working since the start of the season to try to get the goal [of] the MLS Cup. It's great to be here first in the standings."
The World Cup champion also added that it was nice to play against Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard. “He’s a great champion. He, Ashley Cole, and [Robbie] Keane are a great team.”
New York City FC currently sit in first place of the Eastern Conference Standings with eight regular season games remaining. They will travel to Orlando for their next match on Sunday, August 28.