Defender Anton Tinnerholm tallied his first goal for NYCFC. (Amy Kontras/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
BRONX — It wasn’t as near perfect as its season-opening win at Sporting Kansas City last Sunday, but New York City FC did enough things right to secure a positive result this Sunday.
Right back Anton Tinnerholm scored in his first game in a City uniform and captain David Villa tallied his first goal of the season to help the hosts to a 2-1 home-opening victory over the 10-man LA Galaxy before 26,221 chilly spectators at Yankee Stadium.
“I don’t think we made it more difficult for ourselves,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said. “The Galaxy played better in some parts of the game and I think when you play against a quality team, you get to a point during the game where you have to suffer.”
The result boosted NYCFC to 2-0-0, the team’s best start in its four-year history, while the Galaxy dropped to 1-1-0.
The Galaxy played the final five minutes and stoppage time a man down for accruing a second yellow card for a rough tackle on Villa in the 85th minute.
Tinnerholm lifted the hosts into the lead in the 22nd minute. David Villa crossed the ball into the middle of the area from the right flank. Center back Michael Ciani cleared the ball out of the box, but an overlapping Tinnerholm fired a short-range the area that bounded off the crossbar and into the net past goalkeeper David Bingham.
Five minutes later, City keeper Sean Johnson kept the Galaxy scoreless, stoning Ola Kamara from point-blank range after Sebastian Lletget set up him with a sublime feed from the right side.
Left back Ben Sweat played a prominent role in NYCFC’s second goal. Overlapping on the left flank, Sweat found himself in a 1 v 1 opportunity with Bingham, who saved his attempt. The rebound came to Villa, who slotted the ball home from 10 yards for a 2-0 City advantage in the 33rd minute.
It was Villa’s first goal of the season in his 100th game for City.
LA made a game of it on the hour as Sweat lost the ball near the NYCFC penalty area. Then Emmanuel Boateng sent in a pass to Jonathan dos Santos on the left side and the midfielder beat Johnson with a flick from in-close to slice the margin to 2-1.
“If we can score maybe the third or fourth goal and the game is over,” City midfielder Alex Ring said. “You can see how good the MLS is. We slipped once and conceded immeidately. It’s good to keep in mind when we continue.”
“In this league, when you don’t close the games, that happens,” he said. “They score when we’re controlling the game. We need to learn. When we have a lot of chances, we need to score. We need to score to close the game because we can close the game.”
City never rediscovered its rhythm from the opening half, but managed to hold off LA the rest of the way.