TORONTO – Inspired by the goalscoring heroics of Spain’s finest, New York City FC powered past Toronto FC at BMO Field with a 2-0 win courtesy of a pair of goals from David Villa.
With his teammates putting on a physical display behind him and locking down Toronto’s plethora of offensive threats, Villa scored a brace to give New York City a third straight win in MLS play.
The first half started at a blistering pace and stayed that way over the 45 minutes. NYCFC's midfielders and forwards swarmed Toronto FC’s backline, and the expansion side's defenders were all over Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Luke Moore throughout the Eastern Conference affair.
But it was a penalty that opened the scoring in the eighth minute. After referee Allen Chapman whistled for a handball on Benoit Cheyrou, Villa buried the ball from the spot.
Toronto FC nearly found an equalizer at the half-hour mark after Giovinco played in an onrushing Ashtone Morgan off the left. The Canadian proceeded to send in a low cross that found the foot of Bradley, but NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders saved that shot at close-range.
Saunders also came up with two other timely stops in a first-half stretch of about a minute-and-a-half, blocking a Giovinco free kick, then Moore's effort from approximately 14 yards out.
The second half kicked off with the same intensity and speed of play from the two sides, with New York City taking in Toronto’s attacking pressure and looking to counterattack with quick movement.
NYCFC's strategy paid off in the 57th minute as a mistake by Eriq Zavaleta helped allow Mehdi Ballouchy to find Villa in the middle of the box. The Spanish forward tapped home the close-range effort, giving New York City a 2-0 lead at the hour mark.
Try as Toronto FC might, the home side just couldn’t find a clear look at goal. NYCFC's physicality kept Giovinco at bay throughout the match, and not even the introductions of Jozy Altidore, Jackson and Robbie Findley as substitutes could bolster Toronto's attack.
Toronto FC next take on bitter rivals the Montreal Impact at BMO Field on June 24, while New York City FC prepare for a local derby at Yankee Stadium against the New York Red Bulls on June 28 for MLS Heineken Rivalry Week.