NEW YORK – The result was similar to so many from a year ago, with New York City FC building a lead only to concede late.
But the feeling inside the locker room is different following a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
“When we’re up 2-0 we weren’t looking for the tie. We were looking for the win,” NYCFC captain David Villa said. “If we hadn’t made the error at [2-0] we would have walked away with the win. We would have liked it to end in a different way, but we’re not disappointed in how it ended.”
This wasn’t two points lost, it was an improvement from the overall performance in the 4-3 win at Chicago to open the season a week ago, according to NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira.
“I think as a team we were better today than we were against Chicago and we will be even better against Orlando, because I’m really pleased with the commitment and the hard work of the players,” Vieira said.
The first half was especially positive. Utilizing a new 3-4-3 formation with Federico Bravo slotting in next to Andrea Pirlo, NYCFC had a numbers advantage in the middle of the field and it resulted in dominance of possession.
Four minutes later, Villa made it 2-0, though this goal wasn’t without controversy. The Spanish legend handled a headed ball by Mix Diskerud before turning and firing into the net from just outside the six-yard box.
“I watched it on the TV and the ball touched me in the arm, but I was fighting with the defender and the defender touched me,” Villa said. “In the first moment when I saw the ball, I wanted to control with my chest, but I fight with the defender. It was involuntary.”
But momentum swung for the visitors on a goal by Damien Perquis on the last kick of the first half.
“Obviously in the first we played very good, we left the ball always on the floor, have a chance, two goals and almost two or three more,” Villa said. “Yes, obviously a little disappointed for 2-1. It’s 45 minutes, the first half is almost done and we make a little mistake.”