David Villa’s teammates celebrate his first-half goal. (Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)
ORLANDO — You can erase Orlando City SC as New York City FC’s bogey team.
City made sure of that with an emphatic 3-0 victory over its Eastern Conference rivals, as the central Florida side suffered its first defeat in seven games in its new venue Sunday night.
David Villa led the way with two goals, one in each half, and Rodney Wallace added the third in the Major League Soccer match.
Canadian international forward Cyle Larin, a nemesis to NYCFC since both teams entered the league in 2015, not only was neutralized, but missed a penalty kick as well.
The Lions had beaten City in its first two matches this season as it saw its near perfect mark of 5-0-1 at their new home go out the window.
NYCFC moved past Orlando in the conference on goal differential as both sides have 6-4-2 records.
“I’m really proud of the players because it wasn’t easy because traveling and playing the last two games where we didn’t get the result we wanted,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said in the post-match press conference. “But I think today we came over here with a lot of personality, a lot of desire to compete and at the end we fully deserved to go back to New York with the three points.”
Villa converted a penalty kick in the 14th minute before Wallace put home a nifty goal off some quick passing and teammate in the 35th minute.
The Spanish international added his second score in the 82nd minute to close out the scoring.
“I just think you have to look at the way Rodney Wallace, Jack and David finished the game,” Vieira said. “I take off Jack, David came off and Rodney was really tired. Our front three today deserve a lot of credit because they worked hard, really hard.”
Vieira sprinkled praise all around, including to center backs Alex Callens and Maxime Chanot, who kept Larin scoreless.
“Today, we played as well as the last time, we defended quite really well inside the box, we didn’t give him too much space and Maxime and Alex, the two central backs, were fantastic today,” he said. “They played really well.”
Midfielders Mikey Lopez, who made his first start this season, and Alex Ring enjoyed a solid outing, winning second balls in midfield.
“We knew the buildup isn’t something they like to do so we pressed them really high,” Vieira said. “Their keeper played some long balls, but we were there to win the second balls and that’s why I think Ring and Mikey Lopez tactically played a fantastic game, they did really well doing what I asked them to do. When you press them high of course and Kaka isn’t on the ball, they’re struggling to create chances.”
Orlando head coach Jason Kreis, not surprisingly, was not happy with the result.
“Obviously grave, grave disappointment to lose our first game in front of our home fans,” he said. “After every single win we talked about the improvements we need to make and so after the loss we stay the same. We’re not going to go into a shell or believe we’re the worst team in the league or that we’re in some very, very bad spot. We still need to improve. We still need to work hard every week. And we need to do our best to prepare ourselves for next week’s game.”
NYC – David Villa (PK) 14’
NYC – Rodney Wallace (Ethan White) 35’
NYC – David Villa (Maxi Moralez) 82’
NYC – Mikey Lopez (Yellow Card) 19’
ORL – Carlos Rivas (Yellow Card) 34’
NYC – Maxi Morález (Yellow Card) 45 (+1)’
ORL – Léo Pereira (Yellow Card) 90 (+2)’
Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Donny Toia, Léo Pereira, Jonathan Spector, Scott Sutter, M Antonio Nocerino (Matías Pérez García 60’), Will Johnson, Cristian Higuita (Luis Gil 75’), Ⓒ Kaká (Giles Barnes 60’), F Carlos Rivas, Cyle Larin
Substitutes Not Used: GK Josh Saunders, D PC, José Aja, M Servando Carrasco
New York City FC – GK Sean Johnson, D Ben Sweat, Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot, Ethan White (RJ Allen 37’), M Alex Ring, Mikey Lopez, Maxi Morález, F Jack Harrison (Miguel Camargo 80’), David Villa (Thomas McNamara 86’), Rodney Wallace
Substitutes Not Used: GK Eirik Johansen D Frederic Brillant, M John Stertzer, F Sean Okoli
Details of the Game:
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Date: May 21, 2017
ORL – 48.3 %
NYC – 51.7 %
ORL – 10
NYC – 12
ORL – 2
NYC – 2
ORL – 18
NYC – 13
ORL – 4
NYC – 3