A subdued 75 minutes gave way to a breakneck final 15 minutes on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, as a brace from Frank Lampard capped off four late goals in a 3-2 New York City FC win over D.C. United.
Lampard netted the goals on the night he was honored by NYCFC before the match for reaching the 300-goal mark in his storied career.
The hosts struggled to fight back and it took a mistake from the opponents to open up the door, as D.C. United defender Luke Mishu sent a long backpass to goalkeeper Bill Hamid in the 79th minute. David Villa intercepted the risky pass, and scored past Hamid to tie up the game.
Five minutes later, NYCFC took the lead, as Villa appeared to be fouled while trying to finish off a long build-up, but before a call could be made, Lampard pounced on the ball and slammed it home to make it 2-1.
While it seemed like the hosts would take the win, D.C. battled back to tie it up a minute into stoppage time, as substitutes Lamar Neagle and Julian Buescher combined on a corner kick that Neagle scored via header.
But NYCFC had the last word two minutes later, as Lampard scored his second of the night, taking a feed from substitute Khiry Shelton before slaloming through the box and hitting the winner to the side netting, sending the Yankee Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
- 36' – DC – Lloyd Sam (Patrick Nyarko, Luciano Acosta)
- 79' -- NYC -- David Villa
- 85' -- NYC -- Frank Lampard (David Villa, Khiry Shelton)
- 91' -- DC -- Lamar Neagle (Julian Buescher)
- 93' -- NYC -- Frank Lampard (Khiry Shelton)
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- WILD FINISH: D.C. United and their fans are likely not happy about the way the game turned out, but it was a thrilling finish for NYCFC, their fans and neutral viewers. While the majority of the match lacked the intensity seen in the best MLS games, the final 15 minutes were a rollercoaster, as the teams alternated between taking the lead and tying up the game in quick succession. If you didn't get to watch this game live, fire up MLS LIVE and tune in at the 78 minute mark to fully experience the topsy-turvy ending.
- NYCFC, VILLA BACK ON TOP: The win gives City first place in the Eastern Conference once again, one point ahead of Toronto FC with the Canadian side on a bye this weekend. Villa's goal also puts him back atop the MLS Golden Boot standings at 17 for the season, one ahead of Sebastian Giovinco and Bradley Wright-Phillips for the moment.
- FOLLY OF YOUTH: They were not solely to blame by any means, but the game ended up being a tough showing for Mishu and another young D.C. defender, Jalen Robinson. Both players made mistakes on NYCFC goals, and being pressed into action due to injuries and international call-ups with little MLS experience meant they had to roll with the punches. Unfortunately for them, United's defense couldn't hold firm to the final whistle.