David Villa scored his seventh goal in ten games, and winger Khiry Shelton scored his second of the year, as New York City FC beat DC United 2-0 in front of a Mothers' Day crowd of 14,504 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. The win was the Blues' second straight after a seven-game winless streak.
The first half saw the visitors control possession, at times heavily, but a stout United defense meant that NYC could do very little with the possession. DC's defense marked David Villa and Tommy McNamara consistently, allowing them little room to get free. Offensively, DC United took advantage of the Blues' penchant for playing the ball out of the back to pressure the New York City backline - and goalkeeper Josh Saunders, in particular. That pressure gave United the best scoring chance of the half. Luciano Acosta held up the ball, then passed to Lamar Neagle. Neagle then delivered a pinpoint pass to Alvaro Saborio, who found himself with a wide-open empty net in front of him.
He blazed his shot over the bar from eight yards out, instead.
The second half began with another quick DC United scoring chance, but New York City promptly took control of the game. In the 51st minute, right back RJ Allen picked out right winger Khiry Shelton. Shelton then crossed to Tommy McNamara, who backheeled a pass to David Villa as he fell forward. Villa slotted home to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.
Only two minutes later, a poor clearance from DC United resulted in Ronald Matarrita crossing the ball to Khiry Shelton. Shelton used all 6'3" of his frame to climb skyward, trap the ball with his chest, then shoulder it home to double New York City's lead.
From that point on, the Blues managed to do what they've had such great difficulty doing as a team: close a game out. Vieira first subbed in Steven Mendoza in the 72nd minute to stretch the DC defense out, then brought in Andoni Iraola in the 78th minute for Shelton and relieved RJ allen with Ethan White in stoppage time, as Vieira shifted from a 4-3-3 to a 5-3-2 to shut the game down. Despite a couple of dangerous free kick opportunities -- one of which literally hit the post -- DC never really threatened seriously once they fell behind.
With the win tonight, New York City moves to 3-3-4 on the season and 13 points, good for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They are only two points behind Montréal for first place.
Next up for the Blues: another Sunday night game, this time against the defending MLS champion Portland Timbers. They then travel to Toronto on Wednesday, May 18, before coming home to Yankee Stadium for the first game of the Hudson River Derby against the New York Red Bulls.