Villa Defies Physics, NYCFC Defies Philadelphia – Empire of Soccer

David Villa, center, and Jack Harrison scored the goals for NYCFC on Friday night. Photograph by


New York City FC won a well-contested game of soccer Friday night, defeating the host Philadelphia Union, 2–0. Jack Harrison scored the game-winning goal, David Villa scored the unforgettable goal.

The Pigeons (3-2-1, 10 points) found it difficult to create opportunities against a desperate Union (0-4-2, 2 points) team that gave them problems throughout the match. NYCFC was too deep in the first half allowing Harris Menjunjanin to dictate the play, Coach Patrick Vieira told ESPN at halftime. The Union were also able to successfully defend up the field pressuring goalkeeper Sean Johnson into several turnovers. Johnson did keep the game scoreless with two saves.

City again struggled to create chances from its possession but found opportunities through vertical passing and direct running from Harrison. Harrison’s agile dribbling was almost impossible for the Union to handle as he was able to create opportunities for himself on right wing. It would be, however, Harrison’s running off the ball that would lead to his goal.

Ronald Matarrita was able to surge upfield all game and the 52nd minute was no different. Matarrita forced a turnover in front of the Union penalty area and cut inside to his right. He spotted Harrison calling for the diagonal run and with the outside of his left foot, played the ball to him. Harrison took a hard touch with his right foot and then used his left to roll the ball into the far corner past Andre Blake.

The Union fought hard throughout the match and contested NYCFC in the midfield. They were held without a shot on target, however, for the final 63 minutes of the game. The rookie Adam Najem could not make the difference in his professional debut. Neither could Jay Simpson,…

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