NYCFC responded to their draw against Montreal Impact with a victory over San Jose Earthquakes. San Jose scored five minutes into the game, after a NYCFC breakdown at the back. Andrea Pirlo played a poor back pass to Sean Johnson, who couldn’t successively clear it.
NYCFC vs San Jose Earthquakes: Five Key Statistics
San Jose then pounced on the counter. Four minutes later, Jack Harrison’s first goal of the season brought NYCFC level with a powerful shot. Impact sub Tommy McNamara put NYCFC ahead for good with his first of the season after he came on for Pirlo. (All statistics from WhoScored unless noted)
David Villa Didn’t Score
The last game NYCFC won without David Villa scoring was opening day last season. Tommy McNamara, Tony Taylor, Khiry Shelton and Mix Diskerud all scored in that game. The other previous game won without David Villa scoring was a victory over the Philadelphia Union where Tommy McNamara and Patrick Mullins scored.
Even though Villa didn’t score, he still had one assist. NYCFC are better when Villa is able to score on his own, and generate many chances. Villa was visibly frustrated, but there will be game where he won’t score. He will look to rebound against D.C. United next week. Still, his performance is nothing to be upset about, and he should be proud of his efforts.
NYCFC continued to dominate possession, holding 63% of the ball. They also attempted 575 passes, with an 81% success rate. This fits into the style Viera wants to play: lots of passes building up to shots. While both the goals were scored off counterattacks, the possession helped them control the game. Vieira has been committed to playing out of the back, and it is finally paying off.
Once again NYCFC prove to be the more ruthless of the two sides. They had ten shots to San Jose’s nine, but San Jose had two more shots on target. NYCFC also had less expected goals (xG),.76 to .95. San Jose had several chances they couldn’t put away and that is why NYCFC emerged victorious. However, their xG was very close to the number of goals scored. If NYCFC keep burying their chances, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
White Locks Down Right Back
When Ethan White first started at right back, it seemed that Patrick Vieira was trying to send a message to RJ Allen. However, after three straight starts, it seems he has locked down the position. He contributed seven defensive actions (three tackles, one interception, three clearances), while having moderate success going forward. He attempted 50 passes, with 74% accuracy, and chipped in an accurate long ball. White doesn’t venture forward frequently, but when he does, he could use a little more consistency in the final third.
Ring and Callens Secure Once-Leaky Defense
NYCFC only conceded one goal due to the style of soccer they play. The goal was mostly Pirlo’s fault, not the defenders and d-mids. New additions Alexander Ring and Alexander Callens have helped secure a back line that conceded the most goals of any playoff team last year. They combined for 21 defensive actions against San Jose (11 Callens, 10 Ring). The stellar play of Maxime Chanot (nine defensive actions) is also key to the improvement. Ring and Callens have been a big step up over Andoni Iraola and Frederic Brillant.