David Villa: Player's hat-trick lifts NYC over Red Bulls in Big Apple battle
The Spanish superstar has eight goals in his past eight matches and now leads the league with 17 goals this season.
New York City captain David Villa's first Major League Soccer hat-trick lifted his side to a 3-2 win over New York Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
The Spanish superstar has eight goals in his past eight matches and now leads the league with 17 goals this season — one more than Nemanja Nikolic of the Chicago Fire.
Villa opened the scoring in the 28th minute, getting behind the Red Bulls back line and dribbled around charging Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles to finish.
Bradley Wright-Phillips then scored twice for the Red Bulls, his left-footed shot in the 41st minute making it 1-1 before his 64th minute strike gave them a 2-1 lead.
Villa's solo run yielded a equalizer in the 72nd, and three minutes later he drew a call in the area against Red Bulls defender Sal Zizzo.
Villa crossed up Robles on the ensuing penalty, going low in the left corner and New York City held on for a second straight win over their cross-town rivals.
"I would put today in the top three best games since I became coach of the team," City manager Patrick Vieira said. "We had to be at our best to win."
On the opposite coast, the Portland Timbers ended their home slump with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Portland hadn't won at home in almost two months and came into the match having dropped to seventh place in the Western Conference.
The win that moved them up to fifth owed much to David Valeri, whose 31st-minute blast gave the Timbers a 2-1 lead.
Liam Ridgewell's goal had put Portland up after just four minutes.
The Galaxy's Emmanuel Boateng responded just a minute later to make it 1-1.
The video assisted review system implemented this weekend by MLS then came into play.
Gyasi Zardes tapped in a rebound from right in front of the goal to apparently give the Galaxy a 2-1 lead.
But referee Drew Fischer called for a review that showed Zardes handled the ball and instead of a goal he had a yellow card.
Galaxy manager Sigi Schmid said the call made after the review was correct.
"Video replay is fine," Schmid said of the system implemented by MLS this weekend — after the All-Star break — for the remainder of the season.
"It's important to get the calls correct, and it certainly got the call correct."
After the overturned goal, the Timbers regained control. Valeri's goal was followed by Alvas Powell's insurance goal in the 53rd minute.
Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe admitted that the players struggled to keep their energy flowing after the review setback.
"You find yourself in a different mindset once the game is tied again," he said. "It adds an extra layer to (the game).”
Rowe said it's something players will just have to get used to as video review expands in the global game.
"VR getting introduced changes the flow of the game a little bit," he said.