New York City FC: David Villa test better than ever

BRONX, NY - AUGUST 06: Captain David Villa
BRONX, NY - AUGUST 06: Captain David Villa /

New York City FC will always be somewhat dependent on David Villa, but against Orlando City SC, they took a major step towards dispelling that belief.

Anytime New York City FC are left to a match without El Capitan, David Villa, there are judging eyes waiting to slash them down as overly-dependent on the ageless Spaniard. Villa has been there since day one and he has made himself indispensable to the club, which could become problematic as even the ageless age (right?).

As early as last September, New York City FC faced a similar test – having to cope without the lifeblood of the team. And they struggled, though they found ways to ignore the wound without necessarily repairing it.

The 2-0 win over Orlando City SC was probably the first time where there was never a point where I wished that David Villa was on the pitch. I mean, of course I did, he’s David Villa, but I was never left thinking “if only Villa had been there.”

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Which is interesting, because there wasn’t even really a striker at all. Rodney Wallace and Ismael Tajouri flowed in and out of the striker and left winger roles, with Jesus Medina dropping in from time to time and Maxi Moralez providing a presence as well.

Overall, the boys in blue provided ten shots, two went in, one hit the post and another 2-0 victory to add to a 2-0 and a 2-1 with Villa and suddenly, I’m left wondering if the David Villa test has finally been overcome.

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How did they do it?

Well, it was a team effort. As it often is with these guys. It starts from the back with rock solid defending that doesn’t seem to have a panic button. The midfield ferocity is just unstoppable and once you lock down the ball and turn play forward, Villa or not, there are so many weapons in so many positions that you can’t really be too focused on any one guy.

Surely if Villa had been there, he would have found his own way into goal scoring situations. But nothing was lacking. Medina diced the opposition with his superb feet, Moralez was his usual incisive self, Wallace provided a physical presence up front and Tajouri took the one chance that fell to him.

There was nothing lacking. We saw Medina with the Villa-esque lay-off and we saw Tajouri with the Villa-esque pressure of the back line that turned into a goal-scoring opportunity.

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Having a secondary striker will be nice, as Jo Inge Berget will surely be. That said, I may finally be able to put aside my no-Villa fears.