Thursday Night: NYCFC stakes flag in the ground

New York City FC stayed within striking distance in the Eastern Conference playoff race as it came back from 1-0 down to earn a 3-1 victory over D.C. United in front of a crowd of 28,262 on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. While Frank Lampard was sidelined with a quad injury, NYCFC's other two stars, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo teamed up for the winning goal.

Pirlo played a pinpoint perfect pass over the top to Villa, who beat United keeper David Hamid with his 14th goal of the season.

Thomas McNamara set up Kwadwo Poku for the third goal, returning the favor for McNamara's tying goal Poku assisted on the 51st minute.

Kwadwo Poku (NYCFC Photo)

NYCFC has not had trouble scoring goals -- it has scored 14 goals in its last six games -- but it has conceded the same number of goals over the same span.

“I think our team has been doing some really nice things," said NYCFC coach Jason Kreis. "I think attacking-wise we’ve been quite good for many games now. We’ve let ourselves down defensively a bit, and I think that comes from having new players that have not played a lot together."

In addition to Lampard and Pirlo, NYCFC has brought in three defenders -- Spaniards Angelino and Andoni Iraola and Colombian Jefferson Mena -- over the summer.

"We have Andrea Pirlo who is brand new to the team," added Kreis. "We have Frank Lampard now who is brand new to the team. So obviously there are going to be some tactical changes. I am hopeful that we are sticking our flag in the ground right now and will move forward positively.”

Pirlo said NYCFC's recent work in training paid off.

“We changed our style and the way of thinking," he said, "because we could not continue to work like that. There was of course the mistake of the goal in the first half, but the team continued to do better and we played well in the second half.”

MLS, Week 24 Results:
Thursday, August 13
New York City 3 D.C. United 1.
DC: Alvaro Saborio (Chris Rolfe) 36
NYC: Thomas McNamara (Kwadwo Poku) 51
NYC: David Villa (Andrea Pirlo) 80
NYC: Kwadwo Poku (Thomas McNamara) 88
Att.: 28,262.



MLS, Week 24 Schedule:
Friday, August 14
San Jose vs. Colorado, 11 pm UniMas
Saturday, August 15
NY Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC, 7 pm
New England vs. Houston, 7:30 pm
Sporting KC vs. Vancouver, 9 pm
FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy, 9 pm
Real Salt Lake vs. Portland, 10 pm
Sunday, August 16
Seattle vs. Orlando, 5 pm ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Philadelphia vs. Chicago, 7 pm Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes

MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE

PTS (GP) TEAM W-L-T GF/GA

44 (26) D.C. United 13-8-5 35/29
36 (22) NY Red Bulls 10-6-6 35/25
34 (24) Crew SC 9-8-7 38/39
31 (22) Toronto FC 9-9-4 37/38
31 (24) New England 8-9-7 32/36
28 (21) Montreal 8-9-4 29/31
--------------------------------------
28 (24) Orlando City 7-10-7 32/37
27 (24) New York City 7-11-6 34/37
23 (24) Philadelphia 6-13-5 29/40
22 (22) Chicago 6-12-4 24/31

WESTERN CONFERENCE

PTS (GP) TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
42 (24) Vancouver 13-8-3 34/22
40 (25) LA Galaxy 11-7-7 42/30
38 (22) FC Dallas 11-6-5 32/27
37 (21) Sporting KC 10-4-7 33/22
36 (24) Portland 10-8-6 25/28
32 (24) Seattle 10-12-2 26/27
--------------------------------------
31 (23) Houston 8-8-7 30/28
29 (24) Real Salt Lake 7-9-8 27/37
26 (22) San Jose 7-10-5 23/31
21 (22) Colorado 4-9-9 20/24

Leading MLS Scorers:
G PLAYER (TEAM)
17 Kei Kamara (Crew SC)
16 Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
14+1 David Villa (New York City)
11 Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
11 Cyle Larin (Orlando City)
10 Bradley Wright-Phillips
(NY Red Bulls)
9 Chris Rolfe (D.C. United)
9 Will Bruin (Houston)
9 Fanendo Adi (Portland)
9 Charlie Davies
(New England)
9 Kaka
(Orlando City)
9 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose)

MLS, Week 25 Schedule:
Wednesday, August 19
Columbus vs. New York City, 7:30 pm
Sporting KC vs. San Jose, 8:30 pm
Friday, August 21
Portland vs. Houston, 11 pm UniMas
Saturday, August 22
Toronto FC vs. Orlando, 4 pm
D.C. United vs. San Jose, 7 pm
Columbus vs. Sporting KC, 7:30 pm
Montreal vs. Philadelphia, 8 pm
Chicago vs. Colorado, 8:30 pm
Vancouver vs. FC Dallas, 10 pm
Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle, 10 pm
Sunday, August 23
LA Galaxy vs. New York City, 5 pm ESPN2, ESPN Deportes

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