It was David Villa Day at Yankee Stadium.
In a driving rain, New York City Fc honored Villa in a pregame ceremony for scoring his 400th career goal against FC Dallas two weeks ago. Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany smiled broadly while sitting in the owners box to take in the game and festivities.
Once the game commenced, Villa responded with his 16th career Major League Soccer brace to go along with his 24th assist as New York City FC drubbed the visiting Colorado Rapids, 4-0 before an announced crowd of 21,494 soaked patrons.
“Even when he is 45 years old and you put him in front of the goal he will keep scoring goals,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said describing the 36-year old striker. “He didn’t play at his best today but he managed to score two goals because the players around him worked hard and work well. We have players that work hard to help him express himself.”
Like Jo Inge Berget, who made his ninth consecutive start. In the 22nd minute, the Norwegian pressured Rapids’ goalkeeper Tim Howard into a poor clearance. Yangel Herrera intercepted with a one-touch layoff for Maxi Moralez, whose first-time pass released Villa for his team-leading sixth goal of the year.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who replaced Jesus Medina in the starting XI, had a clear opportunity in the opening minute that Howard managed to kick wide of the goal. It was the first of six shots on target this season where Shradi failed to find the back of the net.
May 19, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC forward David Villa (7) celebrates his goal against the Colorado Rapids with during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Berget headed a Moralez corner with pace but without precision in the 12th minute for New York City’s other distinct chance in the first half.
The Rapids were fortunate to trail by just the 1-0 scoreline at the half, but Vieira was less than pleased despite the advantage.
“I was really annoyed and really frustrated at halftime because we had some opportunities to play together but at times made some selfish decisions,” Vieira said. “Our collective game was much better in the second half and that allowed us to score those goals.”
Four minutes into the second half, Ronald Matarrita celebrated his selection to the Costa Rica squad for the World Cup with his second career MLS goal and first of the season. A neat combination between Berget and Villa resulted in Berget’s point-blank flick that Howard managed to save. The rebound deflected high into the air and Matarrita nodded a header past the prone Howard. New York City led 2-0.
Matarrita fought injuries and the impressive Ben Sweat to earn the start at wing back.
“It’s been a difficult year with injuries but God has a plan for all of us,” Matarrita said. “Personally, I had to be mentally strong to recover. It was very emotional (to score the goal). I was satisfied.”
The match was all but settled when Villa assisted on Moralez’ fifth score in the 56th minute. Villa added his second goal of the match, seventh of the season and 404th of his illustrious career in the 74th minute to finish off the Rapids (2-6-2, 8 points), who dropped their fifth consecutive match to remain winless on the road and fall into the cellar of the Western Conference.
NYCFC (7-2-3, 24 points) is currently a single point behind Atlanta United for the top spot in the East with a perfect 5-0 mark at Yankee Stadium.