photo: Earl Gardner
Second half goals from Jack Harrison and David Villa were enough for New York City FC to take down the Philadelphia Union 2-0 at Talen Energy Stadium Friday night. Harrison’s clinical finish was the winner but Villa added a spectacular effort just shy of full time with 52.5 yard half-volley that lobbed over just Andre Blake’s outstretched arms.
Jim Curtin made two changes to the team that lost to Portland last Saturday. Roland Alberg made his first start of the season in place of Derrick Jones, a move that pushed Alejandro Bedoya into his preferred deeper midfield role. Jack Elliott was given his first MLS start, coming in for Oguchi Onyewu. Adam Najem was named to the gameday roster for the first time this season.
Philadelphia opened with a handful of half-chances, culminating when Chris Pontius couldn’t find a teammate in the box with a cross from the left in the 9th minute and Alberg pulled a shot just wide in the 10th.
Andre Blake was called into action in the 16th minute as Jack Harrison let fly from distance and forced the goalkeeper to push away the shot diving to his right.
The Union’s best chance of the half fell to Alejandro Bedoya in the 28th minute. Alberg played a terrific crossfield ball to Ilsinho on the right corner of the NYCFC area, and the Brazilian nodded it into the path of the onrushing Bedoya. The midfielder took on the shot first time, hitting a half volley that Sean Johnson did well to palm away at the near post.
NYCFC would have a good shout for a penalty as Richie Marquez slid in and blocked David Villa’s shot with his hand in the 29th minute. There was no call on the play, and Blake had to come to the rescue, saving from Maximilano Moralez immediately after.
The visitors took the lead in the 52nd minute. Ronald Matarrita was given time and space on the left corner of the Union area and picked out a fine angled pass to hit Jack Harrison’s run behind the Union backline. The striker took one touch to settle before sending a shot past Blake into the Union goal.
Fabian Herbers was introduced in the 60th minute for Chris Pontius as the Union looked to get back into the match.
But NYC would have two good chances to double their lead. First, Ethan White — playing at right back — forced Blake into a good save shooting from the right in the 66th minute. Then, Elliott was forced to clear a goalbound shot from Rodney Wallace in the 69th minute after Blake had made the initial save.
Adam Najem was given his MLS debut, replacing Roland Alberg in the 71st minute and Jay Simpson came in for Ilsinho in the 77th as Jim Curtin searched for offense.
David Villa added gloss to the scoreline with a stunning goal on the 90th minute. Latching onto a bouncing ball just past the halfline, the Spanish striker hit a beautifully struck half volley that spun over the outstretched Blake.
Philadelphia finished the second half with just two shots, and none on goal. Boos rang out for the second week in a row at full time at Talen Energy Field. The Union has now lost four straight, two at home, and has not won in 14 games. They are next in action next Saturday (1 p.m.) when they host Montreal.
- Villa’s goal: Go watch it. It’s special.
- Strong start, fall apart: Once again, Philly looked like they had a strong plan and good understanding early on, only to crumble after giving up a goal. The Union’s high press forced numerous turnovers in NYC’s half, but they were rarely able to convert those opportunities into threats. Once NYC went ahead, the home side had no answer.
- The attack that wasn’t: The Union generated two shots on frame — both from far outside the box — all day. And as Matt Doyle pointed out on Twitter… the team only had the ball in the box twice the entire second half.
Andre Blake, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Jack Elliott, Keegan Rosenberry, Haris Medunjanin, Ilsinho (Jay Simpson 77′), Alejandro Bedoya, Chris Pontius (Fabian Herbers 60′), Roland Alberg (Adam Najem 71′), C.J. Sapong
Unused Subs: Jake McGuire, Ray Gaddis, Oguchi Onyewu, Derrick Jones
New York City FC
Sean Johnson, Alexander Callens, Ronald Matarrita, Maxime Chanot, Maximilano Moralez, Alexander Ring, Andrea Pirlo (Yangel Herrera 77′), Jack Harrison (Khiry Shelton 71′), Rodney Wallace, David Villa
Unused subs: Ben Sweat, Thomas McNamara, Eirik Johansen, Frederic Brillant, Minguel Camargo
NYC: Jack Harrison — 52′ (Ronald Matarrita)
NYC: David Villa — 90′
PHI: Jack Elliott — 25′ (unsporting behavior)
NYC: Alexander Ring — 43′ (unsporting behavior)
POR: Ronald Matarrita – 55′ (unsporting behavior)
|Philadelphia Union||New York City FC|
|2||Shots on Target||7|
|6||Shots off Target||5|
|51%||Duels Won %||49%|