David Villa netted his 16th goal of the season as New York City FC pulled out a 1-0 home win over the LA Galaxy to remain atop the Eastern Conference.
Villa's sixth-minute strike did not come without controversy, as the Spanish striker appeared to be in an offside position when Ronald Matarrita drilled a low shot on frame. Matarrita's effort took a looping deflection of LA 'keeper Clement Diop and Villa was on hand to put it home for the lone goal of the game.
NYCFC would continue to generate the better chances throughout the game, even as the narrowly lost the possession battle following their early goal. The home side did need a fingertip save from Josh Saunders to push away a Nigel de Jong bicycle kick late in the first half, and were fortunate to see LA fail to connect on a couple second-half chances.
- LEFT HAND PATH: Though NYCFC ostensibly lined up with a four-man backline, Ronald Matarrita was given free reign on the left flank with Jason Hernandez completing what was functionally a three-man backline. This tactical tweak from the NYCFC coaching staff worked to great effect for NYCFC, allowing Matarrita to become one of the team’s most consistent attacking threats and giving Tommy McNamara the opportunity to pinch in from his left wing position and unbalance the Galaxy defense
- OFFSIDE?: While NYCFC’s effort to earn three points and a rare clean sheet is certainly commendable, the major talking point coming out of this one will be David Villa’s goal. The Spanish striker certainly appeared to be offside – between the last and second-to-last man, and ahead of the ball – when Matarrita took the initial shot that deflected of Clement Diop:
Oh dear... That is offside. HOWEVER! NYCFC lead LA 1-0! David Villa with the tally! pic.twitter.com/s7HspypPcu— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) August 20, 2016
- OUT-SHOT, AGAIN: The Galaxy have been able to get by this season while being consistently out-shot by their opponents. Bruce Arena has made no secret about the fact that he doesn’t put much faith into the analytical side of the game, but questions remain as to whether the trend is sustainable. The trend continued on Saturday afternoon, and though LA had a few close looks not go their way, the shot charts and do not make for pretty postgame reading: