Editorial (May 19, 2018) — Today, at the match between New York City FC and the Colorado Rapids, New York City honored David Villa by proclaiming May 19th as David Villa Day. And on David Villa Day, the Captain did as he pleased. Scoring a brace, making amazing back heel passes, and generally having, what appeared from the stands, fun on the pitch. It was the Captain’s day. And the Captain did what the Captain does.
The Man in Seat 9: David Villa Day
A cool, rainy, spring day. The kind of day only comfortable if you’re a duck. Or a football player. The kind of day that will be remembered with fondness during the heavy days of August. Swimming upfield in the sea of humidity. Being David Villa Day, the first 10,000 fans received their own captain’s armband. I felt a pang of guilt putting mine on — I was not worthy. I was an imposter.
The captain’s armband. Really nothing more than a piece of cloth. Some ink and thread. A marker for the referee. But put that talisman on the right player and it becomes transformed. It becomes a physical representation of the heart and soul of the squad. It becomes the side’s battle flag. On the arm of David Villa the band absorbs his class, dedication, and sportsmanship. He is, and always will be, our Captain. Others will follow. Others will wear the band. But he is our first, and I think our most important. And so, handing out replica Captain’s armbands, on David Villa Day, was the perfect way to celebrate the magic of David Villa.
Patrick Vieira Experiment Yields Results
With the game well in hand, Patrick Vieira seemed to experiment with tactics by bringing Alexander Ring up as a high pressing center back which allowed Maxi Moralez to come higher up into the attack. Jo Inge Berget moved up to a high center, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Ronald Matarrita played as wingbacks, and Villa became 007. Free to do what he wanted with a license to kill. Colorado’s defense couldn’t cope.
Back, Back in the New York Groove
After finding their mojo in Los Angeles last week, after being manhandled by the Red Bulls the week prior, today’s match should put the league on notice. If you are not one of the top teams, prepare for pain. The Man in Seat 9 feels bad for Colorado for being the first team to face NYCFC at home after they have run the gauntlet of the toughest schedule in MLS. My fear coming into this match is that the team would do what they did in seasons past — not keep the intensity when playing lower ranked teams. Today, and previously against Real Salt Lake, they proved that my fear is misplaced. Welcome to the house of pain.
- David Villa. Enjoying the day, Villa ignited the offense. Number 403 and 404 for club and country. A+
- Sean Johnson. He wasn’t tested much but came up with two amazing saves in the second half to keep a deserved clean sheet. A+
- Sebastien Ibeagha. He is everything you want in a center back. Strong. Confident. With an ability to feed balls into space to launch the attack. Some of his passes today were brilliant. A+
- Jo Inge Berget. I don’t know where but he found his speed. Was physical. Pressed Colorado’s defense mercilessly, and made really intelligent combinations and runs with David Villa. B+
- The team’s performance. Last year they would have given this game away. Today, they didn’t allow themselves to play down to Colorado’s level, but played their game out of the gate. Sloppy at times, yes, but they never let off the gas. A
- Tommy McNamara is back. Good to see him get some minutes today — always deserved. B+
- Officiating. Again. Don’t care how you call the game ref, as long as it’s consistent. The reffing today seemed to be based on a 20-sided die hidden in his pocket. D.
- The fans. Not the Supporters Section. They, like the Man in Seat 9 were in their seats, braving the weather. It’s water. They make ponchos. $1.99 at CVS. Stop hiding in the concourse where the team can’t see you. C.
- The weather. D.
22′ – NYC – David Villa
49′ – NYC – Ronald Matarrita
56′ – NYC – Maximiliano Moralez
74′ – NYC – David Villa
Now, I need to go dry out…
The Man in Seat 9
May 19, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC forward David Villa (7) celebrates his goal against the Colorado Rapids with during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports