Winning in the rain: New York City FC outclass Colorado Rapids 3-0
From the opening whistle, the Cityzens were the better side. Just seconds into the match, goalkeeper Tim Howard was forced to make a save from close range. NYCFC would ultimately get on the board 22 minutes in. Building out of the back, Howard’s pass was picked off by Mr. 400 Club member David Villa. Villa dribbled in on goal and scored.
The home side continued to push for a second goal with Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Jo Inge Berget, and Ronald Matarrita all getting chances. The half ended 1-0.
NYCFC again showed their class at the start of the second half. In the 49th minute, Matarrita cleaned up a rebound by Howard in front of goal. Maximiliano Morález made it three just seven minutes later on the counter. Villa cut inside and found Morález who made a nice move to get a shooting angle and sent one under Michael Azira to score.
Villa got his brace in the 74th minute after some great passing around Rapids players into space. The captain beat Howard on the far side with no defender putting pressure on him.
The Rapids best chances came from Edgar Castillo in garbage time, with a few shots from distance, one of which went off the outside of the post. The match ended 4-0.
Three key takeaways:
Conditions played a factor: It was raining in buckets at Yankees Stadium in this one, especially in the first half. Combine that with a small field, and a baseball surface and the game was a mess the Rapids were not prepared for. Castillo was held in check offensively simply by being on the infield side in the first half. The ball slowed down on the surface and it showed. The home side was used to it and prepared. The visitors weren’t.
NYCFC tactical switch: Early on in the game, it was clear NYCFC were in a 3-4-3. This pushed numbers into the midfield and forced the point of confrontation up on both sides of the ball for the Rapids. With the environmental/playing conditions, numbers around the ball were key. NYCFC created that tactically and had the skill to turn that into momentum into the final third.
Passing turns into results: For a team that emphasizes passing out of the back, the passing from the Rapids was poor. A bad pass by Howard led to the first goal. The back three regularly gave up the ball that prevented any build up and gave NYCFC easy chances. On the otherside, the Cityzens gave a master class in passing into space. They cut through the Rapids midfield and New York Deli sandwhich meat of the Rapids center backs with numbers, speed, and superior skill.