For the first time this season, and only the second time in the two sides’ short history, NYCFC defeated Orlando City SC 3-0. David Villa‘s brace gave him eight goals on the year. Rodney Wallace chipped in one more, and drew the penalty that led to Villa’s opener for good measure.
Assists went to Ethan White, who picked up the dime on Wallace’s 35th minute tally before departing with an injury soon after, and Maxi Moralez. With all this in mind, here are five key statistics that contributed to NYCFC’s victory.
All statistics come from WhoScored unless noted.
Wednesday’s loss at Real Salt Lake made an already tough away game against OCSC even harder to win because the Boys in Blue were suddenly low on momentum; however, the team bounced back and earned all three points. NYCFC became the first team not wearing purple to win at Orlando City Stadium. Most importantly, the victory vaulted NYCFC into third place in the Eastern Conference, only one point behind the second-place Chicago Fire. If NYCFC can continue to improve their away form, they should clinch a first round playoff bye for the second year in a row.
19 Defensive Actions
NYCFC kept a clean sheet, and a large reason for this success was the strong play of their two center backs: Maxime Chanot and Alexander Callens. After getting a rest against RSL, Chanot returned to the lineup with a bang: 11 defensive actions (one tackle, two interceptions, eight clearances). Callens was also no slouch defensively, contributing eight defensive actions (one tackle, four interceptions, two clearances, one blocked shot). They especially did a great job stifling Orlando in the final third (h/t NYCFCforums and MLSsoccer)
Their steady partnership has kept NYCFC solid at the back, despite the rotation at fullback, and was a big factor in winning this game.
One Goal, One PK Won
Rodney Wallace’s play was excellent, drawing the penalty for David Villa’s opener and then scoring one of his own: for his 35th minute tally, he made a darting run to the back post, and Ethan White found him. The PK came from a smart cross that caught the defender — Kaka, no less — in a tough situation. He also contributed one key pass, two successful dribbles, and 76% pass accuracy. Wallace didn’t slack off defensively, either, making two tackles. This two-way play is essential to success in Patrick Vieira’s system.
Even though two saves don’t exactly jump off the stat sheet, they were two tough stops that kept NYCFC in the match. Sean Johnson has been a step up from Josh Saunders, who now plies his craft as the backup keeper for Orlando City. Johnson, however, needs to be stronger in distribution. He had 49% overall passing accuracy, and completed five long balls in 22 attempts. While some of this poor passing can be attributed to the away atmosphere and the wet pitch, he needs to do a little better. Luckily, his inconsistent distribution didn’t cost NYCFC the game.
The Captain’s brace vaulted him into third place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, only two behind leader Nemanja Nikolic of Chicago. His goals secured the three points, while his hustle and attitude set the tone for the rest of the team, as always. The PK was taken well, zooming past Joe Bendik’s fingertips despite the keeper guessing right. His second goal came off a terrific one-two with Maxi Moralez, beating the offside trap.
Villa’s work ethic might be unmatched in MLS, and as long as he is walking, we know the relentless effort will be there. His performance was everything Patrick Vieira could have asked for.