New York City FC were victorious in Domenec Torrent’s first game yet a dark cloud looms as David Villa left the game early with an injury.
After 90 minutes of play, Torrent witnessed his star player, David Villa, subbed off the field due to injury, his team fall down a goal in the first half, and then a thrilling comeback with two goals from a striker who has struggled to find his form this season.
All in a days work for Torrent who now turns his attention to his medical staff in the hopes that Villa does not miss any significant time. Villa left the game in the 28th minute with what appeared to be a lower-body injury. During the postgame interview, Torrent described the injury as “bad news for us,” but did not offer any details.
Villa’s injury is concerning for several reasons. Not only is he the team’s best player and leading scorer (eight goals), he’s an extension of Torrent on the field. The two know each other well and Villa is able to carry out the manager’s instructions as the captain on the team.
However, this may serve as a huge opportunity for Jesus Medina. The 21-year old Designated Player from Paraguay has struggled to make his mark in the squad. The talent is certainly there, and consistent time in the starting line-up may be the catalyst needed to unlock his potential.
The weather called for showers, yet the sun was shining on a muggy afternoon in the Bronx as both teams looked to be aggressive early in the game. The lineup was unchanged from a side that drew against Atlanta FC. Chances were plenty as Villa missed an opportunity with an open net and Jonathan Osorio hit the post for Toronto FC.
But the positive momentum hit a screeching halt once Villa left the game. It’s important to note that Villa walked off under his own power and was running around prior to his exit. Medina was the man tabbed as his replacement and Alex Ring received the captain’s armband.
Just before half-time in the 37th minute, NYCFC, playing their usual high press, were burned on a long ball to Victor Vasquez. Vasquez showed absolute class, chipping Sean Johnson, giving Toronto FC the lead. Johnson, caught flat-footed, made his run a bit late, and Sebastien Ibeagha failed to close down Vasquez.
— Toronto FC (@torontofc) June 24, 2018
The Bronx Blues closed out the first half with frustrating and inconsistent play characterized by poor defensive marking, sloppy passes and a lack of finishing touch around the net.
Interestingly enough, during the telecast, there was mention that NYCFC will look to bolster its midfield depth during the summer transfer window. With a season-ending injury to Yangel Herrera and the recent injury to Villa, Torrent and management may look to be aggressive in strengthening the squad.
Certainly, Torrent, who brings loads of experience and connections with players from Europe, may be able to entice someone with quality and skill to join NYCFC, but only time will tell. The summer transfer window begins July eighth.
The second-half saw the resurgence of the “Big Norwegian” Jo Inge Berget. Berget produced a sensational back-heel to level the game in the 51st minute. Berget, often criticized for his lack of goals, doubled his efforts in the 68th minute, scoring off a beautiful through ball from Maxi Moralez that placed NYCFC up 2-1.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) June 24, 2018
Berget received man-of-the-match honors, and rightfully so, but several players had a key role in the victory.
Ben Sweat came up with key and timely tackles on the defensive side and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi was a terror on the wing for most of the game. Maxi Moralez was the maestro, pulling the strings, and setting up his teammates.
NYCFC will now travel to play the Chicago Fire next Saturday. The Fire sit just outside the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference while City continue to stand pat at second place.
- Score: NYCFC 2 – Toronto FC 1
- Shots: NYCFC 18 – Toronto FC 10
- Shots on Goal: NYCFC 8 – Toronto FC 2
- Possession: NYCFC 59.3% – Toronto FC 40.7%