New York City FC leaned on the old and the new to knock off Toronto FC last weekend. David Villa and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi provided the goals that powered NYC to victory while the home side’s Jozy Altidore supported the cause with a red card ten minutes into the match. The Sky Blues welcomed Villa back to the lineup after an extended injury absence.
After Altidore was dismissed, NYC found space on the left and after a failed clearance, found Villa as well. The veteran marksman shifted the ball onto his left foot to round Eriq Zavaleta then finished across his body to beat Alex Bono.
The Sky Blues employ a nastily effective press after turnovers, and they open the wings for advancing fullbacks by flooding the center with their wingers. The cost is that the flanks are often open in transition, and Toronto capitalized on that to equalize when they moved up the right and found Giovinco with a ball to the top of the box that the tiny striker ripped into the far corner of the goal.
That’s when Tajouri-Shradi kicked into a higher gear. First, he wove across the top of the box from right to left, sliding the ball away from defenders until he has enough space to turn his hips and lace a shot toward goal. Alex Bono should have made the save, but the ball squeaked under him to give NYC the lead.
But in the second half, the players that have carried Toronto for much of the season combined for a goal. Jonathan Osorio, who has been a revelation in 2018, clipped a cross to the back post where Marky Delgado met it with a centering header for Victor Vazquez. The Barcelona product nodded home the tying goal.
But Tajouri-Shradi had one more trick up his sleeve. After substitute Jo Inge Berget knocked the ball down at the top of the box, Tajouri-Shradi met it off the bounce with incredible venom for the winner; in their ninth match under Dome Torrent, NYC picked up three points for the sixth time.
The big story was Villa’s return, but it was also notable that while Villa was good, the team as a whole was not as synced up as one might expect from one of the best squads in MLS. There were moments of good movement, but also periods of play where NYC could not consistently advance the ball even though they were by far the better team and held a numerical advantage.
The Union welcome the Sky Blues to town on Saturday, August 18 at 7:00PM EST.