Three goals in the first half from January signings Rodney Wallace, Maxi Moralez, and club captain David Villa, as well as a second from Villa in the second half, saw City take the three points in their 2017 MLS home opener.
Fireworks from the start
The game had been built up as a thriller, and the start of the game lived up to that hype as New York City took the lead just nine minutes into their home opener at Yankee Stadium through Wallace.
After a great counter attack from the home side, Jack Harrison cut in from the right, and curled a strike from outside the box, however his strike crashed off the frame of the bar, but the ball fell to Wallace, and the former Portland Timbers winger volleyed the ball past Bill Hamid, to give City the lead.
D.C. United almost replied immediately, after Lloyd Sam turned a Patrick Mullins pass past the reach of Sean Johnson, but the flag was raised for offside, and the hosts avoided an early equalising goal from their opponents.
The first half, though, belonged to New York. The hosts looked terrifying on the attack, with Harrison in particular causing the DC midfielder and defence many problems on the break.
One becomes three
A New York City second goal was always coming, and it came in the 27th minute through David Villa. The reigning MLS MVP linked well with Wallace and Alexander Ring deep in the DC half, resulting in the captain bursting into the penalty box to connect with Wallace’s cross from the by-line, and Villa’s looping header was too much for an outstretched Hamid, and Villa’s header doubled New York City’s lead.
City continued to press, using DC’s inexperience with a narrow pitch to exploit the three-man midfield fielded out by Ben Olsen. Moralez was beginning to show his DP status as the first half progressed, weaving through the DC wide with ease and grace, and exploiting the gaps left open from the Western Conference side.
The Argentine had tormented DC for most of the latter stages of the second half, and the former Atalanta midfielder added a third goal with five minutes to go before halftime.
Villa won possession from the halfway line, and the captain tracked the run of Moralez perfectly as the NYC number seven slipped in the Argentine DP, and Moralez slotted the ball past Hamid with a perfect finish, to make it 3-0 to the hosts.
DC fight back
DC came out of the blocks early for the second half. Johnson, who had had a quiet first half, was called into action for the first time less that a minute into the restart, when Patrick Nyarko was picked out from a DC cross, and the Ghanaian should had pulled a goal back for the visitors, but NYC’s number one made a good reaction save, to deny DC an early goal in the second half.
United continued to dominate the second half, using the frailties of NYC’s defence to their advantage. Sam almost kicked off the DC comeback an hour into the game, when the former New York Red Bulls winger burst through on goal, but his strike was blocked by Johnson, and the rolling ball was booted away from the goal-line by Ethan White.
Villa secures the three points
Just when a DC comeback looked slightly likely, Villa made sure to seal the three points for NYCFC, when the captain made it 4-0 to NYCFC with 15 minutes to go.
It was Moralez this time to assist Villa, as Villa did to Moralez in the first half, as the Argentine midfielder smartly played the former La Liga striker in on goal, and despite running into an impossible angle, Villa somehow managed to curl the ball round Hamid at the far post, to score his second goal of the game.
NYC had chances to add a fifth in the closing stages of the game, however the score line would stay at 4-0, and City claimed the vital three points in this early stage of the season.