New York City FC rolled into town with their 4 game win streak and mega stars, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa, but it was 23 year old Yordy Reyna, making his Vancouver Whitecaps home debut that stole the glory. He had the winner on his boot twice in the short time he entered the pitch as a sub, when finally in the 88th minute he struck a perfectly placed header across the face of goal to win the game. Welcome to Vancouver Yordy, we’re so glad you came.
Behind their two legends in Pirlo and Villa, NYCFC was missing some of their supporting cast, however, it wasn’t certain what Whitecaps team would come to play after disappointing appearances in Minnesota and Chicago. The ‘Caps got off to a brilliant start when Brek Shea blocked a pass and put Fredy Montero clear on goal. Montero’s scoring has suffered from lack of service, but he knew exactly what to do and calmly placed the ball past the keeper in the far side to open the scoring at 3’.
And then the game seemed to pick up exactly where Chicago and Minnesota’s left off. NY carried possession and the ‘Caps were hard pressed to retrieve the ball, often handing it right back once they had possession (yes I’m looking at you Toni Tchani).
In the 34th minute NYCFC made the ‘Caps pay when a corner kick to the back post was shot into the scrum, bouncing around David Ousted and his defense until Maxime Chanot knocked it in.
The game continued to suffer as the ‘Caps searched for a way back into the game. That way appeared to be permanently closed when Referee Baldomero Toledo called a highly contentious penalty kick. Ousted managed to dive on the ball, enjoyed a knee to the head and then had the PK to deal with. Ousted clearly got to the ball first. I have read there was a tug on the shoulder by Waston. Waston received a yellow card on the play and from my vantage point in the stands it was hard to know if it was for dissent or the tug (my personal dissent had overwhelmed my senses). Whether it was called on Ousted or Waston, either way the call is brutal in my opinion. I would like to hear in the comments if anyone has heard an official explanation for the call. Oh yeah, Villa converted.
Half time mercifully arrived for the players and the fans, so we could all regroup somehow.
The second half saw the Whitecaps assert themselves more and off a perfectly curling Bolaños cross to the back post Jordan Harvey met the ball with a left foot volley to tie the game at 2-2.
Suddenly the ‘Caps were in a game and the early Montero goal was looking huge for them. Both sides had numerous chances. Ousted had to make a brilliant save off his trailing leg to stop a Pirlo attempt, and NY goalkeeper Jacobsen made a diving parry to send a long range laser from Bolaños over the bar.
The entire game turned on its head with the arrival of Reyna. Quickly he got on the ball and displayed what the ‘Caps fan base has been salivating over. His dynamic, close ball control cut open the NY back line making the ‘Caps attack suddenly very dangerous. Cristian Techera, who was having an ok game, suddenly became a better, cleverer player, and, did it appear that Montero was getting service? Reyna’s first attempt on goal was off one of his darting runs across the top of the box where he danced between two defenders and somehow got off a shot. It just missed the top of the net, but you could see he meant business. Finally, Reyna blew the roof off the house when Nerwinski placed a lovely ball across goal to a diving Reyna who smashed into the far side corner.
Yes, Reyna has arrived. We have seen brilliant debuts go south and underwhelming debuts ultimately go north, but seldom do we see a player look like he can make something happen each time he has the ball (well, unless it’s a 15 year old, born in Liberia). Early days for sure, but the sun came up over the horizon.