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RECAP: New York City FC 1, Montreal Impact 0

Patrick Mullins scores, good guys win again.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For the third match running, Patrick Vieira's NYCFC boys fought through a few struggles but dictated the pace of the game on the way to a 1-0 win.

And, just like January's friendly date against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, Patrick Mullins provided the winner.

Facing their first MLS opponent of the preseason, and with Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba watching from the sidelines, there was a lot to like about some of the individual performances last night at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. Here's how they lined up to start the game, decked out in that brand-new away kit.

In a scoreless first half, the Blues got strong performances in the wide areas, but had unusual troubles up the middle. David Villa lacked service from a three-man midfield that simply wasn't any good: in this setup, Tommy McNamara and Mix Diskerud were downright incoherent. For his part, Villa only came as close as the crossbar:

Even so, the good guys controlled the flow of the game, as Montreal only looked dangerous on the break via 2016 SuperDraft pick Michael Salazar, who was subbed off at the half. Meanwhile, Ronald Matarrita continued his fine form in the left half, Eirik Johansen (four saves) was up to the task in goal, and winger Tony Taylor was a truly dynamic presence with the ball at his feet.

While fellow wide guy Khiry Shelton brought more raw athleticism to the front three, the poise and control Taylor displayed on the dribble was perhaps the most attractive aspect of NYCFC's first half performance.

A series of second-half changes reanimated the midfield, with New York City switching to three center backs, plus Andrew Jacobson at the base of the midfield to skate back to provide help. Mikey Lopez impressed up the middle, showing a pleasing level of confidence and intent running forward. Johansen produced a tremendous save against a threatening Anthony Jackson-Hamel to hold the score even in the 57th minute, and Patrick Mullins scored eighteen minutes later off a deflected shot from Lopez.

Good guys win.

"I thought it was a really good game of football. Physically we are good, technically we are much better," Patrick Vieira said after the game, "even if I believe there is still a long way to go."

The most important thing: facing far-and-away its toughest preseason opponent so far, the Blues dictated terms throughout the game.

New York City returns to friendly action on Saturday at 7:30 pm against Danish side HB Koge.