New York City FC responded to their loss last week by defeating Philadelphia Union 2-0. Goals from Jack Harrison and David Villa helped secure the victory. NYCFC manger Patrick Vieira made one change from the last match, bringing in Ethan White for Frederic Brillant. This loss continues the run of bad form for the Union. NYCFC are now in fourth place, while the Union remain in last place. With that in mind, here are five key statistics that led to NYCFC’s victory (all statistics are from WhoScored unless noted).
NYCFC-Philadelphia Union: Five Key Statistics
NYCFC were up one goal when the ball was cleared out of their box to David Villa. He was tired, so he did this:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 15, 2017
This goal eliminated any chance of the Union coming back, and made David Villa the front runner for goal of the year. However, the key part of this play is Villa’s awareness. He noticed Andre Blake, a very good goalkeeper, was off his line and took advantage of it. Overall, it was a smart play from the NYCFC captain.
The reintroduction of Ethan White brought more defensive stability to the side. When Brillant was playing last week, he seemed a little out of position. However, by returning to four at the back and inserting White into the starting lineup, the defense kept a clean sheet. White contributed nine defensive actions (six tackles, one interception, two clearances). He also successfully got forward, with one shot on target. Clearly, he has won a starting spot in the line up for the foreseeable future.
Matarrita’s Ability to get Forward
Ronald Matarrita came into NYCFC with a reputation of getting forward frequently from left back. In this game, he was very active in the attack with two key passes, an assist, an accurate cross, two accurate long balls, and one accurate through ball. The combination of having White, a more defensive right back, and Rodney Wallace, who can play left back allows him to bomb forward. So, if he turns the ball over, the three other defenders are mobile enough that they can shift to a three man back line temporarily while he recovers.
Wingers Filling Lampard’s Gap
When Frank Lampard announced his departure, the first question on everyone’s mind was who is going to replace the goals he scored. So far, the wingers have been stepping up to fill the void. Harrison scored his second goal of the season against the Union and Rodney Wallace also has two this season. Both players scored four goals last season, and are on target to surpass that this season. The ability of Harrison and Wallace to score goals improves the attack because opposing teams can’t just focus on shutting down David Villa. As Maxi Moralez begins to dictate the attack more, this trio could form several different options that will frustrate opposing attacks.
The successful addition of Alex Ring has been well documented, and this match displayed his talents. Ring had nine defensive actions (four tackles, two interceptions, and three clearances). He also was adept at snuffing out Union attacks through smart fouls, although he did pick up a smart yellow card for one of the fouls. Ring did a good job covering for Andrea Pirlo until he was subbed out. Pirlo’s replacement, Yangel Herrera, also helped Ring stop any Union attacks in the final 25 minutes.