The moment of truth for a season of success is upon the second seed of the MLS Eastern Conference, New York City Football Club. As a result of the late collapse up in Toronto in the first leg of the opening playoff series, NYCFC comes into a do-or-die game this Sunday in Yankee Stadium down two goals after a 2-0 defeat. But captain David Villa has faith in his New York fans and reminds them why their support is needed Sunday. As Villa was quoted on his Twitter account.
“You are again, the most important thing in the club this year.”
Ever Since David Villa was announced as the first star player to join this city club, you could sense the excitement. Villa was a World Cup Champion and now, at 34 years of age, is more capable of calling on his elite world class skills than the ailing Andrea Pirlo or Frank Lampard.
But it has been as frustrating as it has been fruitful. Villa has scored 41 goals for NYCFC in two seasons, second most in MLS this year but a foul on Armando Cooper in the heat of the moment nearly cost NYC his services for the second and final leg of the opening round of the MLSPlayoffs. Without Pirlo due to injury and Lampard coming on in the second half, Villa had to carry the burden of expectations on his back. He appeared to take a kick at Cooper on the back of his leg after a collision between the two.
“For me, it was pretty blatant,”
Toronto manager Greg Vanney strongly pointed out.
But Villa’s standing in MLS may have saved him as the MLS Disciplinary Committee chose not to suspend him for this Sunday’s match. It takes two steps to suspend and though they agreed the situation should have brought a red card, they also decided that the action was not considered “egregious.”
But the need for NYCFC to win now and establish themselves in a major media market has placed the pressure of performance squarely on Villa once more. But he likes it that way.
“This is not strange for me,”
David told the New York Post.
“I always put the pressure first on myself. I like the pressure, because people count on me first.”
NYCFC has to score twice at least and keep their nets empty and then win in an overtime or penalty situation or score three goals without allowing any more themselves to advance.