NEW YORK – When it finally happened, when New York City FC had finally won its first home game of the year, David Villa collapsed to the Yankee Stadium grass.
It was part exhaustion after a third game in eight days, but mostly relief that the seven-match winless streak that followed a season-opening win in Chicago was over.
“I was dead, I was tired, emotions for winning the game,” Villa said after NYCFC’s 3-2 win against the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday afternoon. “I am just tired. We played 90 minutes three times in a week. I am only a little bit old, but emotions for winning the game, too.”
Villa played a massive role in NYCFC’s first win at Yankee Stadium since September 19, 2015. The captain struck for a brace in a six-minute span late in the first half, erasing a blunder by goalkeeper Josh Saunders that resulted in a goal by Octavio Rivero inside the opening minute.
“I think David is not really vocal, but the way he’s working on the field he’s sending the message to the players,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said. “When David is like that, it’s really good for us. When you have such a talent and then you have players working really hard around him, that helps him as well to express his talent. He was a good captain today, a fantastic one.”
Villa credited Khiry Shelton for dispossessing Andrew Jacobson on the first goal and Andrea Pirlo for the perfect corner kick on his second goal. But still, NYCFC was looking at yet another disappointing draw when Christian Bolaños followed his own saved penalty to draw level in the 63rd minute.
Vieira brought Steven Mendoza off the substitute’s bench four minutes later and the Colombian didn’t waste any time on putting his stamp on the game.
Mendoza scored his first career MLS goal in the 73rd minute, sneaking a ball inside the near post after Tommy McNamara’s cross deflected off Tim Parker to the top right edge of the box.
“I personally am very happy about the goal,” Mendoza said. “It gives me a lot of tranquility. Since they called me to come up here to New York they asked me to participate and to get goals. That was my objective. It was really good that I was able to do that today.”