New York City FC’s last match was an incredibly accurate representation of the back half of its season. They huffed and puffed, but exceptionally talented team looked devoid of ideas going forward and inconsistent defensively. Luciano Acosta’s run to set up Wayne Rooney’s opener featured defense as soft as that which Ilsinho faced on his epic goal against NYC, and for such a high quality squad to still have such little motivation to defend two months later… man.
Rooney and Acosta do the business
The thing about Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta is that they have been doing this stuff to everybody for the past few months. The only way to stop them, it seems, is to make them play on the road at Red Bulls on a Sunday then send them back out in high heat on a Wednesday (which Ben Olsen kindly did the last time Philly faced DC). That shouldn’t take away from how well the Union handled Senor Wayne, but it must be taken into account.
It took Senor Wayne and Lil’ Luciano less than ten minutes to break through against NYC last weekend. Acosta weaved through multiple defenders up the left before dropping the ball into Rooney’s path with a bow on it. The English legend knocked home the opener past a stranded Sean Johnson and that was that.
New York City’s only shot from anywhere close to goal in the first half came from center back Alex Callens, and after he missed the frame DC quickly responded through the same duo. This time it was Rooney fighting for possession at the top of the box and Acosta finishing things off. As Rooney spun away from a defender, the ball popped loose and Acosta ran onto it and curled a viciously beautiful shot into the top corner of Johnson’s goal.
With his team listless, Dome Torrent inserted Yangel Herrera for his first minutes since a brutal ankle injury earlier in the season. The physical midfield destroyer shook off rust and helped stabilize NYC’s midfield while showing off his impressive passing range.
Herrera may start against the Union, but at the very least he will make an extended cameo as he looks to regain fitness before the playoffs.
Villa still has it
After Rooney put the match to bed with a penalty, David Villa sent the Union a reminder about his box poacher status. Scooting up the left, the aging but still-brilliant Spaniard drilled a left-footed goal across Bill Hamid and into the far corner of the net. Villa is the scorer one of the better goals ever put past Andre Blake, so the Union will need to remain vigilant when he gets the ball in the final third next Sunday.
Maxi Moralez didn’t play against DC United, but he may be available against the Union. Last time these teams met, Torrent shuffled Moralez wide as he looked to use a two-striker system to break Philly down. If Moralez is available on Sunday, he’ll be the lynchpin linking defense to attack and he will almost certainly set up in the center.
Find out how it all plays out this Sunday at 4:30PM ET at Yankee Stadium when the Union close out their season by trying to wrench third place from NYCFC.