England and Spain’s record goal scorers had only shared a field in their storied careers on one previous occasion until Saturday’s showdown in the BX.
Last time Wayne Rooney and David Villa lined up in a tunnel together, it was the 2011 UEFA Champions League final at Wembley and the day ended with a winners’ medal around Villa’s neck.
Though there was no trophy on the line this time, El Guaje and his band of Blues were out to restore form and pride following a bitter defeat to New England on Wednesday night.
The NYCFC captain immediately set about providing the perfect response, volleying into the outside of the post on 4’ from an acute angle, just to state intentions.
On 11’, Taty Castellanos forced a strong save from Bill Hamid, setting the tone for a dominant opening half from Domènec Torrent’s men, who also went close through Alexander Callens from a great cross from Eloi Amagat.
Villa finally forced the ball into the back of the net on 38’ but it was ruled out for a perceived push on a DC defender in the buildup.
It only stayed that way for 13 second half minutes as D.C. United scored with their first attempt on goal, a header by Birnbaum from a Wayne Rooney free-kick.
Maxi Moralez almost found an instant response with a volley from six yards out which flew wide, while Ronald Matarrita forced an outstanding save from Hamid with an arcing effort on 68’.
It was starting to feel like there was a forcefield in front of the opposition goal for the second time this week, with Anton Tinnerholm threatening with a volley on 77’ and Castellanos getting into good positions on multiple occasions but there always seemed to be a D.C. defender or Hamid on hand to smuggle it away last ditch.
It felt like it was going to take something special to break through the D.C. resistance and that’s just what David served up with a brilliant curling free-kick which left Hamid no chance, with just three minutes remaining.
Despite more late pressure, 1-1 was how it stayed.
- James Sands started his second game for NYCFC, just three days after his first start
- Eloi Amagat made his second start for the Boys in Blue
- David Villa scored his 11th goal of the season (tied for team high with Ismael Tajouri-Shradi)
NYCFC HEAD COACH DOMÈNEC TORRENT
On whether he was happy with the way the team played…
“I’m not happy just for the result. I said I’m proud of them because they played really well for me and for the effort until the last moment. We played two games in a few days and it’s not easy to play against United. That is the reason why I am very proud of them, of my players because they play much better and were able to create many, many chances but in the end, soccer, when you miss too many chances you bite.
On playing style…
“When I say anytime that I want to create a style, the style is the way they played tonight. Keep the ball, create chances, play inside, after that play outside, but after that the sport in general is about the result and the result is not good for us because we missed five points in the last two games in Yankee Stadium. I think it’s not fair for us. We didn’t deserve to lose the game and then draw the game but in football if you are able to score, you win, but if you are not able to score you’re in trouble. I said to them I’m really proud of you because you played really well. At the end if you are able to play that way every single game, you are ready to play in the playoffs.”
On Matarrita’s new role…
“I love this player because [he] plays amazing in this position in the last two games. I think he’s more comfortable to play inside not outside. It’s good news for us because right now we have one player more. He’s able to play in two positions. He can play like a winger sometimes, like a fullback, and he played really well in my opinion in the last two games. If you ask him about that he’s very happy to play here. At the end when you are in trouble you have to change a little bit and it’s the time to create something special and you play Jimmy, and Jimmy played fantastic for me and you play with Mata in the middle.
NYCFC DEFENDER ANTON TINNERHOLM
On playing from behind in consecutive games…
“Never in my whole career, and I’ve played a lot of games, [have I played] two games like this, dominating like we do… and we only got one point out of six. I don’t think we can play better than we are now, but we aren’t good enough in front of goal…It’s a big, big disappointment not to walk out of here with the three points… and when you think about the game Wednesday night it’s even more frustrating.”
If there’s anything positive to take from tonight’s result…
“For the moment it’s tough to see anything positive from tonight’s game, but of course we scored a late goal. Right here and now it feels more like we lost two points than we won one. Like I said, never have I played two games like this and got only one point.”
On style of play…
“At least between the two boxes we’re playing fantastic, we kept dominating the game the way we wanted. There are still parts missing… finishing, especially in the box. For the moment it’s a little bit frustrating standing here with you guys and saying everything is fantastic. I’d rather take a win when we’re playing [poorly] than a point where we’re playing fantastic.”
NEW YORK CITY FC MIDFIELDER MAXI MORALEZ
On today’s game…
“The balance was positive, we tied a difficult match. Very controlled on our end throughout the whole game. I don’t think they deserved a point. The ball was always on their half, but it’s one of those games where you make one mistake and you pay a big price and that’s what happened today.”
On performances throughout the season…
“I think individually I’ve scored more goals and recorded more assists than last season which is a positive thing but the important thing is that we finish the end of the season with something bigger. Obviously, it starts with the playoffs, but I think the club and this group of guys is pointing towards something bigger and we’re on the right path.”
NEW YORK CITY FC MIDFIELDER JAMES SANDS
On the rest of the season and gaining more minutes…
“It’s going to be a roller coaster of a ride. I’m happy to have started these past two games, but I’ve got to keep working. I’ve got to keep working hard every day in training and keep learning.”
How to keep motivated going forward…
“T weren’t the best matches for us and that’s honestly all you need to keep yourself motivated. Obviously, the teams ahead of us keep winning, so we need to keep winning to keep up with them. So hopefully that’s all the motivation we’ll need to work hard in training.”
D.C. UNITED HEAD COACH BEN OLSEN
On only gaining one point…
“I thought it was one of those that we would still get all three, but we will take a point. They certainly had a bunch of chances, very few shots but I told the guys the teams that make playoffs find a ways to grab points. When you’re down a man or you’re down on your luck and things aren’t going real well with the ball. Defensively we were a little out of shape sometimes because a) they’re a good team and b) guys aren’t well rehearsed in some of their roles. The soccer part wasn’t great, so on these days, can you find something out of it through grit and work gradient that’s the stuff that’s missing. That’s what I asked and that’s what they gave me, so I’m very proud of the group.
On flow of the game…
“I still think there were times to play the game and secure the ball when we wanted it back, we just did not do a good job with it throughout the night. That added up to wave after wave of pressure from them, Villa to Moralez. To keep them off the board and out of the run of play all night, that’s a tough task for any team let alone a team that has a few guys out. It was good to see Durkin get minutes, Ian, Jalen, Ulises another game for him, there’s a lot of new faces in there. When you add new players like this a grab something out of it, it helps with everyone feeling like you’re apart of this.”
Thoughts on how Wayne played…
“He was tactically very savvy, he understands what the game needs and he’s not a guy that, because it wasn’t our night with the ball defensively out of whack, he wasn’t throwing his arms up, he just dug in there and he’ll do a little bit more than the next guy and that stuff adds up, it’s very contagious.”
D.C. UNITED FORWARD WAYNE ROONEY
His reaction to today’s draw…
“Obviously, it feels like a bit of a loss at the moment, after conceding the late goal. We wanted to win the game, but the way the game went we ended up defending a lot more than we wanted. The defense was brilliant tonight, unfortunately we conceded the goal, but a point overall away from home is a good point.”
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