Man, it was a hot one.
OK, enough with the theatrics: David Villa scored from what kinda looked like an offside position, and a Patrick Vieira-less New York City FC snapped the star-studded Los Angeles Galaxy’s nine-match winless run with a brazen 1-0 victory at a swooning, sweating Yankee Stadium.
“We have a great respect for the quality of players they have, for the quality of [the] coach, the quality of the staff,” New York City match day manager Christian Lattanzio said after the contest. “Very important win, very important game. And we believe in our work. We believe we can play against anyone.”
Vieira served a one-match suspension after being dismissed last weekend in Columbus for alleged inappropriate language toward referee Sorin Stoica. NYCFC assistant Lattanzio answered the call, recording his second home win in a row in place of Vieira.
The Blues didn’t just strike first, they struck early. David Villa notched his league-leading 16th goal of the campaign in the sixth minute following a fine bit of work from the resurrected Ronald Matarrita.
As it turns out, Villa very much appears to have been offside.
But don’t tell that to the folks in the bleachers.
El Guaje’s dodgy strike turned out to be the difference in the game.
Really, Bruce Arena’s Galacticos just couldn’t figure an answer as the sun beat down harder and harder. Gio Dos Santos was all but anonymous, as Blues center-halves Jefferson Mena and Frederic Brillant kept just enough of the funny business bottled up at the back. Robbie Keane was far from the unhinged menace he was against NYCFC a year ago. Gyasi Zardes did Gyasi Zardes things.
“Give credit to the boys. They stick to our plan, to our head coach,” the gracious Lattanzio said after the game. His squad did plenty of bending, but never broke on the day: though they conceded possession to L.A. by a noticeable margin, the Blues allowed just one single shot on target.
The upshot is a clean sheet, a signature win — the ostensibly road doggin’ club’s fourth straight at home — and another week guaranteed in the penthouse of the Eastern Conference.
“We have our objective, our target for the season,” Lattanzio said of his team’s chase for glory.
But how big are the lads really dreaming, what with such a smashing run through just their second regular season?
“[W]e are not thinking too much ahead of ourselves.”
But I wonder how much longer those crazy championship dreams stop being some zany flight of fancy.