The Chicago Fire came into New York riding on an 11 game unbeaten streak. The impressive streak was snapped by David Villa and the 10 men of NYCFC. New York’s Yangel Herrera received two yellow cards in the opening 12 minutes and set the stage for an incredible shorthanded performance. The Men in Red were unable to capitalize on the 78 minute man advantage and fell 2-1 to the hosts. Saturday’s defeat in the Bronx is Chicago’s first loss since April 29th in Red Bull Arena. With the result, NYCFC now pull to within one point of the Fire in the table.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 22, 2017
David Villa’s Shorthanded NYCFC Smoke The Chicago Fire 2-1
The Fire’s starting 11 appeared a little shorthanded themselves. Star winger David Accam sat on the bench in the first half and impressive left back Brandon Vincent went down injured in pregame warmups. MLS scoring leader Nemanja Nikolic was largely neutralized Saturday at Yankee stadium as well. NYCFC did well to clog the middle of the field and sustain long periods of Fire pressure.
— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) July 22, 2017
Accam’s inclusion in the second half had a definite impact going forward for Chicago, including the Fire’s only goal. On the defensive end however, the combination of Accam and Harrington was taken advantage of by New York throughout the half. Villa’s spectacular goal on the full volley came from good work down the defensive left side.
Rusty after long break
The big question going into the game was, how rusty would the Fire be after two weeks off? The answer turned out to be quite obvious. The top form and passing game seen from the Men in Red during the first half of the season was not on display for the most part Saturday afternoon. Chicago didn’t step up their play until they were two goals down. New York, who played Wednesday at home to Toronto, looked to be much the sharper team despite being short a player for much of the contest. The Fire created a lot of chances in the final 15 minutes but the team in blue held on strong. 35 year old David Villa shined bright throughout and provided a goal to remember. The Fire remain winless at Yankee Stadium.