NEW YORK CITY, NY – Turns out New York isn’t quite where dreams are made of.
At least not for Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3W-5L-2D).
Octavio Rivero scored his first goal of the season just 37 seconds into the match and Christian Bolaños made it two goals in two games but Whitecaps FC fell 3-2 to New York City FC (2W-3L-4D) on Saturday afternoon in a thriller at Yankee Stadium.
Spanish star David Villa scored twice for the home side in the victory.
Saturday’s match was Vancouver’s third in the span of eight days, which explains the seven changes after a midweek draw with Sporting Kansas City. Three of those changes came on the back line, with fullbacks Sam Adekugbe and Jordan Smith replacing Jordan Harvey and Fraser Aird and centre back Pa-Modou Kah replacing the suspended Kendall Waston.
This was Vancouver’s first-ever visit to Yankee Stadium and it got off to a dream start.
The visiting ‘Caps opened the scoring in less than a New York minute – 37 seconds, to be exact. It all started with Budweiser Man of the Match Nicolás Mezquida, who got on his horse to pressure NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders, forcing a turnover that Rivero finished from point-blank range.
The goal – Rivero’s first of the season – was Vancouver’s second fastest goal in MLS history (Eric Hassli scored one at 33 seconds against Chicago in 2011).
Vancouver’s Uruguayan duo nearly combined again in the 15th minute.
After some nice interplay in midfield, Mezquida played a lovely throughball to Rivero, who got in behind but couldn’t control the ball before he was dispossessed. It was a bright start for the Uruguayans, but Rivero was forced to leave the match shortly later with a left ankle sprain.
New York didn’t offer much going forward in the early stages, but that changed in a hurry.
Villa drew the game level for New York in the 35th minute, finishing from inside the box after a 'Caps turnover in midfield. The Spaniard added another just six minutes later. This time, he acrobatically volleyed in an Andrea Pirlo corner at the back post to give New York the advantage. Matias Laba appeared to get pulled down on the play, which left Villa unmarked at the back post.
At any rate, the home side took a 2-1 lead into the second half.
But this one was far from over.
The ‘Caps had a couple early half-chances before Kekuta Manneh drew a penalty just after the hour-mark. Bolaños’ PK attempt was saved by Saunders, but the Costa Rican alertly followed his shot and tapped in the rebound to equalize in the 63rd minute.
That set up an entertaining conclusion that saw Vancouver create a number of chances.
It was New York that found the winner though off the foot of substitute Steven Mendoza, who fired a low strike into the near post after a cross from the left in the 73rd minute.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is a Cascadia clash with defending MLS Cup champions Portland Timbers next Saturday at BC Place (2 p.m. PT on TSN1). Limited tickets are still available. This will be the first meeting between the longtime rivals since Portland eliminated Vancouver in last year’s playoffs.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Nicolás Mezquida
Referee: Sorin Stoica
1’ – VAN – Octavio Rivero (Nicolás Mezquida)
35’ – NYCFC – David Villa (Khiry Shelton)
41’ – NYCFC – David Villa (Andrea Pirlo)
63’ – VAN – Christian Bolaños
73’ – NYCFC – Steven Mendoza (Thomas McNamara, Ronald Matarrita)
Shots: New York 15 – Vancouver 14
Shots on Goal: New York 4 – Vancouver 7
Saves: New York 5 – Vancouver 1
Fouls: New York 16 – Vancouver 16
Offsides: New York 1 – Vancouver 4
Corners: New York 4 – Vancouver 4
47’ – NYCFC – Mikey Lopez
80’ – NYCFC – Frederic Brilliant
90’ + 4’ – VAN – Pa-Modou Kah
90’ + 4’ – NYCFC – Ronald Matarrita
New York City FC
12.Josh Saunders; 3.Ethan White, 13.Frederic Brilliant, 2.Jason Hernandez, 22.Ronald Matarrita; 5.Mikey Lopez, 6.Frederico Bravo, 21.Andrea Pirlo (51.Andoni Iraola 86’); 19.Khiry Shelton (9.Steven Mendoza 67’), 7.David Villa, 15.Thomas McNamara (10.Mix Diskerud 75')
Substitutes not used
25.Eirik Johansen, 30.Diego Martinez, 88.Kwadwo Poku, 99.Tony Taylor
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 6.Jordan Smith, 26.Tim Parker, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 3.Sam Adekugbe; 17.Andrew Jacobson, 15.Matías Laba; 7.Christian Bolaños (19.Erik Hurtado 78’), 11.Nicolás Mezquida, 23.Kekuta Manneh (13.Cristian Techera 78’); 29.Octavio Rivero (27.Blas Pérez 27’)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 2.Jordan Harvey, 9.Masato Kudo, 31.Russell Teibert
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