New York City FC welcomed the New England Revolution to Yankee Stadium for the second and final time of the season on Sunday. The first meeting between the two sides resulted in a 2-2 draw due to a late Revolution equalizer.
Since their last meeting, NYCFC have been on a tear and their opposition, meanwhile, have not shared the success. New York sat second in MLS heading into the match while the Revs were not far from the bottom of the league.
The Revolution brought a fully fit squad to Yankee Stadium while the home side were forced to play without six of their players. NYCFC's bench consisted of zero defenders due to injuries and suspensions. Ethan White was one of the players who would have found himself in the 18 man roster for Sunday if not for a suspension. Another big miss for the boys in blue was Alex Ring, as he was also serving a suspension due to yellow card accumulation.
Scoreless First Half
Unsurprisingly, the home side started stronger, however, they could not find the back of the net. This is the fourth match in NYCFC's most recent five that they could not grab a goal in the first half.
NYCFC's best chance came after Jack Harrison beat his man on the wing and found MLS MVP David Villa at the top of the box. The Spainiard took the shot but could do nothing more than hit the side of the net.
New York City called for a penalty in the first half when Maxi Moralez was brought down in the box by Revs player Teal Bunbury. The ref was quick to dismiss the penalty shout but replays will show that Maxi Moralez had a strong claim.
NYCFC was not the only team to come close to scoring in the first half. Kelyn Rowe struck a ball from well outside the box that forced a tough save out of NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson. The keeper dove to his right and pushed the strike off the post to keep things scoreless.
Revs Strike First
NYCFC found themselves down a goal for the twelfth time this season and have come back to win four of these times. Before Sunday's match in the Bronx, the Revs were 7-3-2 when scoring first in MLS play this season.
Teal Bunbury opened the scoring in the 57th minute. After a subpar start to the season, Teal has scored five goals in his last six matches. This goal marks Bunbury's highest goal tally in a Revolution kit. Bunbury will be hoping his good form continues for the remainder of the season.
Bunbury picked up the ball just a few yards in front of goal and easily scored the opening goal of the match. Sean Johnson fumbled the ball and none of his defenders were there to clean up his mess which allowed Teal to walk right in and score arguably the easiest goal of his career.
David Villa Equalizes
Not too many people will be surprised to hear that David Villa scored yet again for NYCFC. The forward's league-leading 19th goal of the season forced "MVP" chants to echo around Yankee Stadium. El Guaje will be looking to secure his second consecutive MLS MVP award as well as chase the single season goal record in MLS history.
David Villa is capable of scoring world class goals, as he has proved to MLS supporters since his arrival in 2015. However, he is also capable of scoring scrappy goals just six yards away from the goal. Buildup play on the left wing saw Argentinian creator Maxi Moralez slide a ball into an overlapping Ben Sweat's path who's low drive took a few bounces before finding El Guaje. Spain's all-time leading goalscorer made no mistake in slotting home the equalizing goal for the home side.
After scoring his first MLS goal in NYCFC's last match, Jonathan Lewis grabbed yet another goal on Sunday night. Just like his game against LA Galaxy, Lewis scored the game winning goal in a game where his striker, David Villa also scored.
The late substitute made an impact large enough that could see him gain extra minutes in NYCFC's next match. He'll be facing tough competition with the likes of Jack Harrison, Khiry Shelton, Thomas McNamara and Rodney Wallace all at the club and capable of playing the same position as him.
Lewis' late winner came from a shot-cross from NYCFC fullback Ben Sweat who picked up his second assist of the night when Jonathan Lewis blasted home his second goal in two weeks. The 20-year-old winger controlled a hard hit ball and then blasted a shot past Revs keeper, Cody Cropper. Lewis and the rest of his teammates ran off in celebration celebrating what stood to be another game winner for Jonathan Lewis.
Following New York City's third consecutive victory, the club will travel to New Jersey to take on Hudson River rivals, the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. NYCFC have won the first two MLS meetings between the two clubs this season and will be hoping for their first ever season sweep on their rivals. Following the match against the Red Bulls, NYCFC will take on a strong Sporting Kansas City side at home. SKC has the best defensive record in MLS but will have to be at their best if they want to slow down David Villa who has scored 11 goals in his last 10 games.
New England Revolution will now prepare to travel to RFK Stadium to take on D.C. United. After a battle between two of the worst Eastern Conference sides the Revs will host back-to-back matches against Orlando City SC and the Montreal Impact before heading over to Mercedes-Benz Stadium where Atlanta United will welcome the revs to their new home.