FT: New York City 2, Los Angeles 2. The streak continues — New York City haven’t lost back-to-back games in two years!
In truth, it was a wildly exciting, wildly uneven game, and a draw is an appropriate result. The Pigeons got off to a slow start, but drew first blood on David Villa’s goal in the 13th minute. From there, the Angels were largely in control, but aside from a hilarious own goal by Sebastian Ibeagha, the Pigeons’ defense was up to the task.
The game opened up in the second half, and again, it was LAFC on the front foot. Their pressure finally paid off in the 65th minute. Carlos Vela kickstarted a lovely passing sequence around the NYC box, as the Angels worked the ball from side to side, looking for an opening. Vela was the beneficiary, and he scored the goal that put LAFC in front.
Vieira immediately made tactical changes to salvage the situation, bringing in Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. It paid off in the 75th minute, as Tajouri-Shradi delivered a rocket off the rebound to bring New York City level.
From there, despite LAFC doing everything in their power to control the game and score the winner, the Pigeons’ defense stood tall — Anton Tinnerholm in particular. They scratched and clawed their way to the finish, and the result was a valuable road point. The question after the debacle that was the Hudson River Derby was how they’d respond against another tough opponent, especially one that would copy the Red Bulls’ game plan. The answer has to be encouraging for Pigeons’ fans.
New York City returns home for their next game. That’s this Saturday, at 1 p.m., against the struggling Colorado Rapids.
90’: There’s four minutes of stoppage time. LAFC are throwing the kitchen sink in attack.
86’: Substitution -- Ronald Matarrita on for David Villa. Vieira looking to lock things down with this substitution, but Matarrita can provide some offensive threat, too.
81’: SO CLOSE FOR BERGET! A break from David Villa results in him teeing up Jo Inge Berget for the shot. Berget comes thisclose to notching his second goal of the year.
78’: Bob Bradley makes two subs: Lee Nguyen for Benny Feilhaber, and Jordan Harvey for Steve Beitashour. Vieira subs Ebenzer Ofori for Maxi Moralez. Nguyen is one assist away from being the 20th man in MLS history to notch 50 goals and 50 assists.
Vieira counters by taking off Moralez and bringing in Ofori to add some defensive muscle.
75’: GOOOAAAALLLL ISMAEL TAJOURI-SHRADI!!!! NYC 2, LAFC 2!!! It’s a delightful finish for the Libyan attacker. That’s five goals in five appearances for him, and it comes after an excellent offensive build up for the Pigeons. Tinnerholm took the first shot, and Tajouri was there to notch the rebound goal.
73’: With Tajouri’s addition to the game, New York City’s approach has changed. They’ve gone to a back three, and are pushing the game forward.
69’: Substitution — Ismael Tajouri-Shradi for Ben Sweat. It’s a badly-needed change for the Pigeons, who are just barely hanging on at this point. New York City have been utterly quiet down the right; Tajouri should change that.
65’: Goal, Carlos Vela. LAFC 2, New York City 1. A fantastic buildup by LA starts with Vela working the ball from side-to-side. New York City’s defense — so strong for so long — finally fails to clear the ball. Vela is there with a lovely shot for his sixth goal of the season.
It’s a deserved lead for the Angels, who’ve been the better team throughout.
60’: This is still anyone’s game. New York City were defending for their lives for the last few minutes, but managed to break out and — eventually — earn a free kick in a dangerous position, after a foul on Jesus Medina. It came to naught, however.
55’: So far, this game is being driven by turnovers and transition play. This is making the game open up. Notable for New York City — Maxi Moralez is drifting inside a bit.
50’: One thing that New York City aren’t doing is setting up overlapping runs with their fullbacks. The first time they did that this half, it resulted in a near-miss by Villa.
46’: We’re underway with the second half. No changes for either side. Patrick Vieira might want to consider coming up with a way to deal with LAFC’s press.
HT: It’s all square at the half. New York City drew first blood and became the first road team to lead at Banc of California Stadium, but a Sebastian Ibeagha own goal let the hosts back in the game.
In truth, LAFC have been sharper on the ball than the Pigeons. New York City’s defense has been equal to the task, but Vieira will want his team to raise up their level of play if they hope to come away with a draw or win. They were lucky that half-time came when it did, because LAFC were on the attack, looking for a go-ahead goal.
43’: One thing the Angels are doing well is jumping the channels. That’s keeping NYC from building out wide and from the back, and forcing them into a more direct style.
38’: A scrappy sequence leads to the game slowing to a crawl. Villa tried to get a break going, but gets shoved down. That earns the LA defender a yellow card, then the ball gets played out of bounds.
33’: One element of the game opening up has been the fullbacks providing width in the field.
Meanwhile, NYC dodge a bullet as LA’s Diego Rossi tees up a shot and instead has it ricochet harmlessly for a corner, which comes to naught.
28’: Since the goal making things square, the game’s opened up. New York City are still trying to build from the back, but LAFC’s press is making that hard work. Meanwhile, own goal aside, the Pigeons have done well defending.
22’: Goal, LA. Sebastian Ibeagha own goal. NYC 1, LAFC 1. That’s the second own goal the Angels have gotten off a corner this year. It’s utter grade-school defending from the man substituting for Maxime Chanot. It’s also utterly deserved, as LAFC have been on the attack ever since surrendering the penalty.
16’: It’s been a helter-skelter five minutes after Villa’s goal. LA have attacked relentlessly in that stretch, but the defense has — shakily — held on.
10’: GOOOOOALLLL DAVID VILLA!!! NYC 1, LAFC 0!!! Villa has his penalty shot saved, but there’s no missing on the rebound. It’s his 68th MLS goal, 402 for his career.
10’: THAT’S A HANDBALL BY ATUESTA! Referee Chris Penso is getting assistance from the VAR right now.
He awards the penalty!
5’: Five minutes in, LAFC are using the same gameplan the Red Bulls used last week. The Angels aren’t a high-pressing team, but they’re pressing successfully. It would behoove Vieira to maybe alter his game-plan a bit.
New York City get their first corner of the match, but it comes to naught.
1’: We’re off! LAFC are in all-white, while New York City are in their road greys. As good as the Pigeons have been on the road the last two years, they’ve lost their last two road games. Key in that: uncharacteristically flat, listless starts to their games.
We’re 15 minutes away from kickoff, give or take. If you thought Vieira would go with a shuffled lineup, think again. Chanot is absent from the 18, but aside from that, there’s no changes.
In Sunday’s other MLS matchups, Portland defeated Seattle 1-0 in the 100th meeting of this derby. Seattle — racked by injuries — are in major trouble. Meanwhile, Atlanta United outlasted Orlando City 2-1 in a snappish clash.
Banc of California Stadium is filling up nicely as kickoff approaches. It’s a gorgeous California afternoon, ideal for top-rank soccer.
Rosters are out. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi is on the bench for the Pigeons, as he wends his way back from injury. So is the injury-prone Matarrita, and energy-injector Rodney Wallace. Jonathan Lewis continues his residence in Vieira’s doghouse. At this point, we should forget about him seeing playing time ever again.
For the hosts, former Revs talisman Lee Nguyen is on the bench; that’s a hell of a weapon for Bob Bradley to deploy late in the game.
New York City Starting XI (4-3-3, L-to-R): Johnson; Sweat, Ibeagha, Callens, Tinnerholm; Ring, Herrera, Moralez; Berget, Villa (c), Medina
Bench: Stuver; Hountondji, Matarrita; Ofori, McNamara, Wallace, Tajouri-Shradi
- Suspended: None
- Suspended after next caution: MF Alexander Ring
- Injury: None
Los Angeles FC Starting XI (4-2-3-1, L-to-R): Miller; Gaber, Ciman (c), Zimmerman, Beitashour; Feilhaber, Atuesta; Kaye, Vela, Blessing; Rossi
Bench: Lyon, Harvey, Moutinho, Jaković, Blackmon, Mallace, Nguyen
- Suspended: None
- Injury: OUT: GK - Luis Lopez (right tibial stress fracture), F - Marco Urena (facial surgery)
Referees: Christopher Penso (referee); Jeremy Hanson, Nick Uranga (assistant referees); Baldomero Toledo (4th official); Kevin Terry, Jr. (VAR)
How To Watch
Match date & time: May 13, 2018, 8:30 p.m. EST
Venue: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Online streaming: FOX Sports Go
Local radio: WNYE 91.5 FM — English (Crooks, Kolker, Masur, Lawrence); WADO 1280 AM — Spanish (Abramowitz, Judas).
All-time series: This is the first-ever meeting between New York City and Los Angeles FC -- the phoenix club that replaces the late Chivas USA in MLS. It’s a clash that some might hope gives rise to a rivalry between two teams that can be rightly described as glamour clubs.
But New York City come west humbled, not proud. Their bright start to the season — seven games unbeaten — was tarnished by an abysmal performance in the first Hudson River Derby of the year. Manager Patrick Vieira was sharply critical of the Pigeons’ play afterwards, but was encouraged by what he saw in practice this week.
“Players are coming back with more determination, more focus,” Vieira said in remarks to reporters this week. “I’ve seen the attitude I was expecting. I saw players who were hurt, disappointed by their performances and want to react. There is not a better game than going to LA than to show how strong we are as a team.”
It’s worth noting that New York City haven’t lost back-to-back games since April 2016, when they followed up a 3-2 loss to Columbus with a 2-0 defeat to Philadelphia. Combine that with their customarily good road performance, and this promises to be a tasty nightcap to a weekend of MLS games.
Bob Bradley’s squad will be a tough test, though. They’ve started their maiden season in MLS with a 6-2-1 record, and that record isn’t a mirage. They’re unbeaten in all three of their home games thus far, and have only surrendered one goal in those three games.
This post will update with highlights and information as we receive it.