David Villa scored the equalizer for NYC FC before he was red-carded later in the first half. (Photo by Keith Furman)

Ten-man New York City FC endured a game it would rather forget and then some in the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz. Saturday night.

Not only did the Blues drop a 3-1 decision to the Houston Dynamo, they lost captain David Villa and head coach Patrick Vieira in the process as well.

Villa was red carded after scoring City’s lone goal and Vieira was sent off for what game officials ruled as a slap on Houston’s A.J. DeLaGarza’s face.

Vieira was given his marching orders in the 30th minute after protesting a foul on newcomer Maxi Moralez by Juan David Cabezas.

Eight minutes later Villa was sent-off for his slap. Originally, the World Cup champion was awarded a yellow card by referee Nima Saghafi but the punishment was increased following a Houston video challenge via the Video Assistant Referee system – an initiative being tested in the competition.

The Dynamo struck in the second minute. Midfielder Juan David Cabezas won a ball near midfield and found forward Erick Torres on the right side. Torres passed to forward Romell Quioto in the middle of penalty area and the striker took a first-touch shot, beating goalkeeper Sean Johnson at the right post.

In the 15th minute, City equalized. The Blues cleared a corner kick to start a counter attack. the score. Forward Jack Harrison received a pass from midfield and pressed to the final third before laying the ball off to Villa on the right side. Villa took a touch and put the ball inside the far post for a 1-1 deadlock.

NYC FC was never the same.

In the 50th minute, midfielder Alex controlled a high ball and swiftly turned past a defender to create space inside the penalty area. He slipped a low-left footed shot past Johnson for a 2-1 Dynamo lead.

Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley made his preseason debut in the 63rd minute as a substitute. Three minutes later the left back took a pass from forward Mauro Manotas inside the box, but Beasley’s shot was deflected by a defender, resulting in a corner kick.

Houston made eight substitutions in the 71st minute including forward TJ Casner, who tested keeper Andre Rawls with a volley in the 81st minute.

The final goal came in the 89th minute after defender Kevin Garcia won a tackle in midfield and midfielder Memo Rodriguez recoverd the ball. Rodriguez found Casner along the right flank. His cross was intercepted by an defender, but the ball fell to Rodriguez inside the six-yard box for his first goal of the preseason.

Scoring Summary:

HOU: Romell Quioto 1 (Erick Torres 1) 2
NYCFC: David Villa (Jack Harrison) 15
HOU: Alex 2 (unassisted) 50
HOU: Memo Rodriguez 1 (unassisted) 89

New York City FC: Sean Johnson (Andre Rawls 60); Ben Sweat (Shannon Gomez 46), Maxime Chanot, Frederic Brilliant, RJ Allen; Andrea Pirlo, James Sands (Kwame Awuah 74), Maxi Moralez (Jalen Brown 46); Tommy McNamara, David Villa ©, Jack Harrison
Unused Substitutes: Ethan White, Shannon Gomez, John Stertzer, Khiry Shelton, Sean Okoli

Total shots: 3; Shots on goal: 3; Fouls: 10; Offside: 1; Corner kicks: 1; Saves: 3

Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric (Calle Brown 71); A.J. DeLaGarza (Jalil Anibaba 71), Adolfo Machado (Taylor Hunter 71), Leonardo (Kevin Garcia 71), Dylan Remick (DaMarcus Beasley 63); Ricardo Clark© (Eric Alexander 63), Juan David Cabezas (Emilio Garcia 71), Alex (Memo Rodriguez 71); Alberth Elis (Josè Escalante, 71), Erick Torres (Mauro Manotas 63), Romell Quioto (T.J. Casner 71)

Total shots: 15; Shots on goal: 9; Fouls: 14; Offside: 2; Corner kicks: 7; Saves: 2

Disciplinary Summary:
HOU: Juan David Cabezas (caution; reckless challenge) 30
HOU: Leonardo (caution; dissent) 30
NYCFC: David Villa (ejection; unsporting behavior) 38
NYCFC: Ben Sweat (caution; reckless challenge) 44
NYCFC: Shannon Gomez (caution; unsporting behavior) 69

Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Claudia Badea, Logan Brown
Fourth Official: Kevin Scott

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.