David Villa struck for a brace, Josh Saunders had another stellar performance in the net, and New York City FC did a solid job defensively against Toronto FC’s most dangerous players.
The result was a 2-0 win at BMO Field to extend NYCFC’s league winning streak to three games.
“The guys played fantastic tonight,” NYCFC coach Jason Kreis said. “I am very familiar with the way Toronto FC plays as I have been around the league for years, but it was up to the guys to really give the effort. To me, it was mostly about the effort.”
Villa scored a penalty kick in the eighth minute for the expansion team’s first goal this season inside the opening quarter-hour.
The Spanish legend added his second, and fourth goal in four games, in the 58th minute when he took a centering pass from Mehdi Ballouchy and put NYCFC in front, 2-0.
On the other end of the field, NYCFC limited Sebastian Giovinco and Michael Bradley’s touches.
“There is no way you can allow guys like Giovinco or Bradley any type of space on the ball,” Kreis said. “The few times they did have space on the ball they nearly hurt us. We knew there was going to be times where we had to weather the storm because Toronto is a very good team.”
Saunders made sure the result held up, making four saves to earn his third shutout of the season and 23rd of his career.
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“I think these wins have given us the confidence to calm down and really play a little bit more,” Saunders said. “We have a lot more trust in each other with the ability to move forward and attack. It says a lot as we are winning on the road and Toronto is a very good team.”
After going winless in 11 straight league contests, NYCFC are unbeaten in four consecutive matches, taking 10 out of a possible 12 points. It is a perfect time to take on the New York Red Bulls for a second time, which NYCFC will do next weekend. In the first meeting, the Red Bulls pulled out a 2-1 win in Harrison, New Jersey, on May 10.
The scene this time shifts to Yankee Stadium, where 37,000 tickets have already been sold for next Sunday’s showdown.
“I thought it was a great result, great effort by the guys and now we have a few wins in a row,” Saunders said. “We are taking this confidence into next week vs. New York Red Bull.”