New York City FC at Los Angeles Galaxy: Match Recap

NYC vs LA Final

CARSON, Calif. | New York City FC lost 5-1 to the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of 27,000 on Sunday afternoon at the StubHub Center.

Robbie Keane scored twice while Gyasi Zardes, Giovani dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget all found the back of the net for the defending MLS Cup Champions.

David Villa scored his 15th goal of his debut campaign in the league with a penalty kick in the 80th minute to avoid the shutout.

New York City FC fall to 7-12-7 (28 points), while Los Angeles (13-7-7) move back atop the Western Conference with 46 points.

"I think we ran up against the best team in the league and they punished our mistakes pretty severely," head coach Jason Kreis said. "We started out the game, I thought, really, really well but then we had a giveaway in the back led to clear chances for the Galaxy and the momentum completely shifted and I don't think we ever gained it back. 

"We still have a lot to learn about how to be mentally strong and how to get the momentum back in games because I think it is happening to us quite often where we have spells where we are good and them something happens in the game and everything completely shifts and we have a hard time getting that back.”

New York City FC started out the match the aggressor, dominating possession and opportunities in the match’s first 20 minutes. Villa had two of the best chances during that span with a pair of quick shots in the eighth and 14th minutes, but the first attempt was deflected for a corner kick and the second was parried away by goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.

The Galaxy, who have suffered just one loss in their last 30 regular-season MLS matches at home, grabbed hold of the momentum to end the first half. Their efforts turned into results as Zardes found the back of the net to put the home side up 1-0 in the 36th minute.

Juninho quickly took a free kick in New York City FC’s half following a foul called on Villa. His pass ahead found Keane in space before the Los Angeles captain crossed a teasing ball into the box that Zardes headed home for a one-goal advantage.

The score remained 1-0 at halftime.

“We trained hard for this game," Villa said. "In the first 20 minutes we played the way we prepared for this game. We were playing well and almost scored a goal but then we stopped doing what we were doing. They are a great team, they are a better team than us, they are the defending champions. When you play against a team better than you the only thing you can do is stay 100 percent focused and after the 20th minute we didn't do that.”

The Galaxy added to their lead early in the second half with a pair of goals in similar fashion. In the 54th minute, dos Santos had the ball on the right side and fed it ahead to Keane between a pair of defenders. Keane chipped an on-rushing Josh Saunders to make it 2-0.

The duo switched roles in the 67th minute with Keane turning provider to dos Santos, who chipped Saunders to make it 3-0.

Los Angeles didn’t let up, finding the back of the net again just three minutes later. Keane had the ball on the right side and slid it across the 18-yard box to Steven Gerrard. The former Liverpool midfielder took a shot, but it was redirected by Lletget and past Saunders for a 4-0 lead.

New York City FC forward Patrick Mullins was taken down in the penalty box in the 79th minute by Galaxy defender Dan Gargan as the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Villa stepped up and fired the ball into the lower right corner to make it 4-1.

It was Villa’s team-leading 15th goal of the season and his fifth PK goal.

Los Angeles quickly struck again – scoring just one minute later. Lletget controlled Ricketts’ goal kick on the left side and back heeled the ball to an overlapping Robbie Rogers. The defender crossed the ball into the center of the box that Keane tapped home to cap the scoring.

New York City FC return to action on Sunday, August 29 against Columbus Crew SC. Kickoff is 4 p.m. ET from Yankee Stadium (YES Network, WFAN, WADO).

"It is not something that we expected," Kwadwo Poku said of the loss. "It happens. We just have to forget about it. We have our next game on Saturday and that is a crucial game too. We definitely have to win that game if we want to make it to the next stage.”

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