After losing to the lower-ranked New York Cosmos in the US Open Cup, New York City FC fans were frustrated and were worried their season had come to a standstill. However, NYCFC used that defeat as inspiration for a 2-0 victory against a strong Toronto FC side on Saturday. NYCFC claimed their third consecutive MLS win, and local rivals, New York Red Bulls, are next up in the league.
Captain David Villa showed his experience and confidence in front of goal to grab his side both goals in the win. It was his first brace in his MLS career, and can only be a sign of more goals to come. The Spaniard now has four goals in his last four MLS games.
NYCFC Goalkeeper, Josh Saunders, earned a shutout and frustrated the Toronto forwards, while they looked likely to score. Saunders’ saves were crucial in the team’s away win, and gave confidence to the New York defensive unit.
In his post-match interview, Saunders said, “I thought it was a great result, great effort by the guys and now we have a few wins in a row. We are taking this confidence into next week against the New York Red Bulls.”
He is of course talking about his team’s MLS win-streak and their next game against their New York rivals on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Currently the Red Bulls are leading NYCFC in the Eastern Conference standings by only one goal difference point. However, the Red Bulls have played two fewer matches.
NYCFC are currently in eighth place, two places below the playoff spots. After the last three wins it looks likely that NYCFC will challenge for a playoff spot, especially since they are one of four teams tied on 17 points. The Red Bulls (seventh place, 17 points) have lost their last four matches, while Columbus Crew (sixth place, 17 points) have only manage three draws and three defeats in their last six matches.
NYCFC fans have more reasons to be optimistic after it was announced on Sunday that Andrea Pirlo is set to join the club in July. The 36-year old Juventus midfielder, helped win the Italian league and cup competitions this season, before losing to FC Barcelona in the Champions League Final.
It is expected that both Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard will join their new teammates in training in July. Both players are extremely talented and have won trophies in two of Europe’s top leagues. The two veterans can use their experience to add stability to the NYCFC midfield.
Most NYCFC fans are ecstatic by the news, but others remain skeptical about their speed and stamina, since both players are 36-years-old. Some fans would have preferred a young defender who could aid the back line, and be a promising player for seasons to come.
It is hard to argue with these fans’ points, but I think Pirlo and Lampard will bolster the team immensely. Pirlo will not be able to bring speed to the table, but his job would be to sit in a deep-lying midfield role and quarterback the attack. Pirlo has expert vision and can slice open defenses with his long and short passes. He also is a very clever free kick taker and a confident penalty taker.
Frank Lampard has more speed than Pirlo and will be joining the attack from midfield regularly. Lampard has two strong feet and in 13 seasons with Chelsea Football Club he scored 211 goals. Lampard can assist others in scoring or score goals himself, and he proved he can still play at the top level after scoring eight times for Manchester City this season.
To recap an eventful week: NYCFC lost on penalties to New York Cosmos, outsmarted Toronto FC in Toronto, and acquired the Italian maestro Andrea Pirlo. The additions of Lampard and Pirlo in July should improve NYCFC’s playoff chances. The news is exciting, but NYCFC is fully focused ahead of Sunday’s clash with the New York Red Bulls.