The flashy MLS expansion newcomers of 2017 visited their counterparts of two years ago at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, and the elders won out.
Fueled by a second-half flurry of two goals in two minutes from Rodney Wallace and Maxi Moralez, New York City FC accelerated past Atlanta United 3-1, condemning the visitors to their first-ever losing streak.
Fresh off signing his contract extension earlier in the week, David Villa opened the scoring with a thumping finish and later added an assist with his role in Moralez's goal. Carlos Carmona responded with a piledriver of his own to level matters heading into halftime, but Atlanta had no answer for NYCFC after the break.
- Another star turn from David Villa inspires NYCFC: "He lifts the team"
- Testing time arrives for Atlanta United FC after back-to-back losses
- 17' – NYC – David Villa Watch
- 39' – ATL – Carlos Carmona Watch
- 60' – NYC – Rodney Wallace Watch
- 61' – NYC – Maxi Moralez Watch
- MARA-VILLA: Villa is NYCFC's captain, the first player in club history, leading scorer both this season and all-time and quite possibly en route to becoming the greatest Designated Player in MLS history. And Sunday was a perfect encapsulation of all his attributes. The Spaniard worked furiously on both sides of the ball as City figured out ATL UTD's press, showed poise and intelligence with his decision-making around goal and hustled relentlessly even when victory was secure.
- NO D IN ATL? After conceding only five goals in their first five games, Atlanta have now leaked nine in their last four, and it's no surprise that they're 1-3 during that stretch. As opponents figure out their high-tempo pressing, it's left their back four more exposed and even on the compact pitch at Yankee Stadium, they were unable to impose themselves on the rhythm of Sunday's encounter.
- KEY NEWCOMERS: Patrick Vieira has repeatedly stated that his roster is much more talented than last year's and Wallace, Moralez and midfielder Yangel Herrera (who may have taken over Andrea Pirlo's starting spot for the time being) are big reasons why. The trio have brought new levels of quality and dynamism to key areas on the pitch for City and look unlikely to see the bench any time soon.
- NYC: Sunday, May 14 – at Dallas (8 pm ET | FS1/FOX Deportes in US, MLS LIVE in Canada)
- ATL: Sunday, May 14 – at Portland (4 pm ET | ESPN/ESPN Deportes in US, TSN2 in Canada)