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RECAP: New York City 2, Montreal 1

The Gotham Blues returned to their winning ways with their third win on the road. Next up: Toronto -- and the debuts of Frank Lampard, Angelino, and Andoni Iraola.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a dispiriting 3-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls, New York City needed to get back on track. Last night at Montreal, they did just that. That it came on Independence Day made it all the sweeter.

In front of 18,112 north of the border, the Blues came out on top against the Montreal Impact, winning 2-1 at Stade Saputo on the 4th of July behind two world-class goals by David Villa and miracle work by Josh Saunders and the New York City defense.

It wasn't pretty, and it sure wasn't easy, but they found a way to grind this result out. They captured a huge three points on the road. With the win, New York City moves up to seventh in the Eastern Conference, only four points behind second place and right in the thick of the playoff hunt below the red line - with reinforcements on the way.

Goals by El Guaje sandwiched a Nacho Piatti strike from the penalty spot and a bombardment of shots by the hosts. Montreal outshot NYCFC 25-5 (!) and for most of the night, looked the far more dangerous team. Both teams were undermanned, with Impact captain Patrice Bernier out on suspension, and New York City's Mix Diskerud out on international duty with the U.S. men's national team.

The Impact maintained serious pressure throughout, but lacked the finishing and sharpness in the final third on this night. The first real sign of life from the Blues came in the 34th minute, with some increase in possession and movement, and, largely against the run of play, saw the captain strike to give them the 1-0 advantage. On a nice diagonal ball by Patrick Mullins off a feed from Tommy McNamara, the Spaniard powered it home with his left foot from an almost impossible angle.

The defense remained steadfast until the 76th minute, when a lofted cross struck McNamara's arm in the box, resulting in a penalty. On the ensuing PK, Piatti buried the shot into the bottom left corner, just past the outstretched arm of Saunders. It looked as if Coach Kreis was content with playing for the point, and that Montreal was bound to break through for a second.

But this was America's night. How about some fireworks? Winning a free kick at the edge of the box in the 82nd minute, Villa stepped up and finished a nice bending ball around the wall low into the far post to give New York City a 2-1 lead, one they would not relinquish.

Evan Bush could have done better with the bounce in front of him, but take nothing away from our superstar. A truly world class strike for Villa, this was his eighth goal of the campaign. It's taken him a while to adjust to the nuances of Major League Soccer, but talent like that on set pieces shines through anywhere in the world.

Montreal continued to press forward late, hoping to equalize again, but to no avail. Saunders came up big with numerous saves to keep City in it, including an alert parry away late on. Facey played a tremendous game at center back, knocking down crosses and through balls for the full 90. The defense played with fire tonight, and a good finishing night by the hosts or against another team, and it easily could've been a lopsided affair. There was much bend, but, thankfully, no real break.

The Blues return to action next week, July 12th, at Yankee Stadium to take on Giovinco and Toronto FC. The game will mark the first for Lampard, Iraola, and Angelino in the sky blue. See you then!

Starting Lineups:

NYCFC (4-4-2 diamond):
12 - Saunders
24 - Facey
17 - Wingert
27 - Allen
3 - Watson-Siriboe
4 - Jacobson
88 - Poku
20 - Ballouchy
15 - McNamara
14 - Mullins
7 - Villa

Impact (4-2-3-1):
1 - Bush
25 - Toia
23 - Ciman
36 - Cabrera
2 - Oyongo
33 - Donadel
16 - Mallace
11 - Duka
10 - Piatti
15 - Romero
99 - McInerney

Subs:
63' Oduro for Mallace (MTL)
65' Grabavoy for Ballouchy (NYC)
80' Alvarez for Mullins (NYC)
83' Nemec for Poku (NYC)
83' Jackson-Hamel for Duka (MTL)
88' Miller for Toia (MTL)