David Villa drives a free kick against the Chicago Fire wall. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

BRONX — Despite playing a man down for 78 minutes, New York City FC recorded a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire at Yankee Stadium Saturday.

David Villa and Fredric Brillant lifted the hosts to a two-goal advantage to overcame a David Accam strike in the clash of top of the table foes in the Eastern Conference.

Playing its second match against a top opponent in four days, NYCFC accrued four out of a possible six points after Toronto FC (a 2-2 draw Wednesday) and Chicago.

The result left NYCFC (11-6-4, 37) in third place behind Toronto 11-3-6, 39) and Chicago (11-4-5, 38).

The loss marked the Fire’s first since April 29, ending its MLS unbeaten streak at 11.

“To manage to win the game we did today, you don’t win these types of games if you don’t show the togetherness, the characte,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said. “Today we showed a little desire and a little discipline as well.  When I looked at the players after the game in the dressing room, I couldn’t have asked for more than what they gave today. They managed to keep the result and win the game because of the way they played today.”

Villa gave the team much credit for bouncing back against losing the lead in the waning minutes against Toronto.

“The points are more important,” he said. “After the mistake against Toronto, the performance of the team was no good. We lost two points in the last minute for a mistake. It’s difficult for the team. Three days after with the sun, 2 p.m.. Chicago rested in the week and in ten minutes, we are one man less. It’s crazy, the mentality of the team, the form of the team. It’s more than three points today for this.”

Midfielder Yangel Herrera was assessed his second yellow card in the 12th minute, forcing City to play a man down for the rest of the MLS match.

The hosts fought through it.

“Mentally we were in a different place today,” goalkeeper Sean Johnson said. “Even down a man, there was still a different feeling this game compared to last game and you know we had an advantage for the most part of the game. Credit to the guys. We pressed on.”

Match Highlights: NYCFC 2-1 Chicago

One for the ages… the best of the action from #NYCFC's 2-1 victory over Chicago Fire.

تم نشره بواسطة ‏‎New York City FC‎‏ في 22 يوليو، 2017

Video courtesy of NYCFC’s Facebook page

The Fire came close to scoring in the 45th minute as Johan Kappelhof sent in a long-range shot from long range that was deflected at the top of the box, forcing goalkeeper Sean Johnson to parry the ball away off his fingertips.

Only three minutes into the second half, Jonathan Lewis made an impact on his first MLS start as Villa volleyed home his right-wing cross from the top of the penalty area for a 1-0 lead.

“He played the game with a lot of passion, a lot of love,” Vieira said. “The way he played today, he is our leader. He is a fantastic example for the players around and the way we work. He is unbelievable. For me he has to be one if not the best foreign players in the league. Not just the way he scores goals, but the way he works, the way he commits himself. He’s a terrific example for all the young kids who want to become professionals.”

NYCFC found the net again in the 51st minute as Brillant, during a scramble in the box, header the ball home for a 2-0 margin.

Accam, however, sliced the lead in half three minutes later, scoring off a long-range shot. His 25-yard attempt struck the underside of the bar as the ball bounded into the goal just over the goal line.

Scoring Summary:
47’ – NYC: David Villa (Assisted By: Jonathan Lewis)
50’ – NYC: Frederic Brillant
54’ – CHI: David Accam
Disciplinary Summary:
8’ – NYC: Yangel Herrera (Yellow Card)
12’ – NYC: Yangel Herrera (Yellow Card / Red Card)
44’ – CHI: Joao Meira (Yellow Card)
61’ – CHI: Johan Kappelhof (Yellow Card)
83’ – NYC: Jack Harrison (Yellow Card)
87’ – NYC: Frederic Brillant (Yellow Card)
New York City FC: Sean Johnson; Ben Sweat (37’ Mikey Lopez), Alexander Callens, Frederic Brillant, Ethan White; Alexander Ring, Yangel Herrera, Maxi Moralez; Jonathan Lewis (72’ Sean Okoli), Jack Harrison; David Villa (C) (90’+4’ Kwame Awuah)
Substitutions Not Used: Eirik Johansen, RJ Allen, Andrea Pirlo, Thomas McNamara
Chicago Fire: Matt Lampson; Matt Polster (54’ Djordje Mihailovic), Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Michael Harrington; Bastian Schweinsteiger, Juninho, Luis Solignac (HT David Accam), Michael de Leeuw (69’ Daniel Johnson), Arturo Alvarez; Nemanja Nikolic
Substitutions Not Used: Stefan Cleveland, Jonathan Campbell, Drew Conner