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 falls to 7-12-7 (28 points), while Los Angeles (13-7-7) move back atop the Western Conference with 46 points.
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 stanza. 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 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.
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).
NEW YORK CITY FC HEAD COACH JASON KREIS
On today's game:
“I think we ran up against the best team in the league and they punished our mistakes pretty severely. We started out the game, I thought, really really well but the first sign of a bad mistake in the back, a giveaway in the back, led to a 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.”
On not having Frank Lampard available:
“I think a player like Frank [Lampard] in the midfield for us would certainly make a difference. He's a veteran player with a ton of experience that can communicate and can lead the guys around him. He might be the guy that we need to stem the tide when things are going a little but south for us. Unfortunately he wasn't quite fit enough to really contribute for us today. We will have an entire week to try to get him involved in full trainings and fit for next weekend.”
On what the team needs to defensively:
“I think its continued work with organization with our back four and the players in front of them. I think today we got caught on counter attacks a lot against a team I said before they are the best in the league at that right now and you see that with a lot of the score lines that they have. They are scoring a ton of goals, they are a defensively sound team that hits you in transition very well.”
NEW YORK CITY FC FORWARD DAVID VILLA
[Translated from Spanish]
On today's game:
“We got outplayed by a better team. After the first 20 minutes they started to get into the game. They played better, they defended better and they attacked better and the score reflects that.”
On the team's performance:
“We trained hard for this game. In the first 20 we played the way we prepared for this game. We were playing well and almost scored a goal but them we stopped doing what we were doing. When you play against a great team, let's acknowledge that 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.”