Villa scores, Matarrita shines in NYCFC friendly win


New York City FC won its second friendly of the preseason, this time against Oklahoma City Energy 1-0 at the IMG Academy in Florida.

David Villa scored the lone goal midway through the first half as he forced a turnover deep in the Energy’s third and tucked his finish into the far corner past an onrushing goalkeeper.

NYCFC fielded separate lineups for each half, rotating players in a set 4-3-3. New signings Ronald Matarrita and Diego Martinez started at left wing and left back respectiveluy and combined well to help NYCFC drive play down that side. Matarrita and midfielder Thomas McNamara quickly established a connection allowing for one to press the Energy’s defense with the other covering. Matarrita was up the field with Villa on the sequence that led to the game’s lone goal.

Midfielder Mix Diskerud and forward Khiry Shelton each played the second half after joining the team late in preseason due to their call-up to the US Men’s National Team. The two helped NYCFC maintain the pressure on the Energy with Diskerud looking comfortable in a midfield trio featuring him, Kwadwo Poku and Mikey Lopez as the holding midfielder. Forward Patrick Mullins had a header and a penalty saved while McNamara was also denied by a quick kick save from the Energy’s goalkeeper.

The NYCFC defense featured all of its newcomers but they were not tested much throughout the match. Trialist Ivan Ivanov played the second half at centerback. Newly acquired defender Ethan White played at both center back and right back throughout the match while Frédéric Brillant started the match at centerback. They were rarely challenged by the Energy attack but did have some positioning issues as they missed interceptions on balls played through its high line.

Defenders RJ Allen, Jefferson Mena and Connor Brandt and midfielders Jack Harrison, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard were all inactive. Josh Saunders started the match and played the first half in goal. Eirik Johansen replaced Saunders for the second half.

NYCFC’s preseason continues in Florida with their next match taking place February 17 against the Montreal Impact at Al Lang Stadium in Tampa. A free stream will be available on YouTube or the Tampa Bay Rowdies‘ website.

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