Aug 22, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC forward David Villa (7) warms up before a game against the New York Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Although the result failed to register three points in the Eastern Conference Standings, the 1-1 draw on Wednesday night in the Hudson River Derby was a triumph for New York City FC.
“Sometimes you need a game like that when you are in a bad moment,” City captain David Villa said.
The cruel scenario developed in the first half at Yankee Stadium when the New York Red Bulls forged into the lead on Bradley Wright-Phillips 12th goal in the rivalry. Then Eloi Amagat making his NYCFC debut was ejected five minutes before halftime for a serious foul on Mark Rzatkowski.
New York City head coach Dome Torrent drew from his 11 years of experience at the highest levels of the game to set up the tactics after the interval. Down a man and trailing 1-0, the former Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City lieutenant set up a shape with twin strikers – Villa and halftime substitute Jo Inge Berget.
“Normally, when you play with 10 players you see coaches play a 4-4-1 – me as well sometimes,” Torrent said. “When we played 4-3-2 at (Manchester) City and Bayern (Munich) it’s not a bad idea. You have three players in the middle and you can play good football. My experience in the last 10, 11, 15 years it’s maybe more complicated for the opponents when you play with two strikers. That is the reason why.”
With just seven minutes elapsed in the second half, midfielder Maxi Moralez played some good football. His aerial delivery to Berget was headed into the path of Villa whose left-footed drive skipped past Luis Robles for the equalizer.
“Dome take a decision and decides to put two strikers,” Villa said after finishing his 10th of the season. “And in the second half we were much better.”
The choice to play with an attacking mentality persisted the remainder of the half even after Ebenezer Ofori was sent off for his take-down of Wright-Phillips and New York City was obliged to play the final 25 minutes nine versus 11.
“I think that’s what we believe in – that’s how we have to play,” holding midfielder Alex Ring said. “Dome didn’t have to say much how we are going to play tactically or who is going to play in what position. I think we organized ourselves pretty well. I defend, David scores, Maxi assists, the guys in the back defend, the goalkeeper holds the ball – you know, that’s our job.
“When we play like this I don’t see many teams beating us, I’m going to honest with you,” Ring said.