VANCOUVER, BC – Star-studded New York City FC rolled into town on Wednesday evening but it was the new kid on the block that stole the show at BC Place as Vancouver Whitecaps FC won 3-2, thanks to a late match-winner from offseason acquisition Yordy Reyna.
The diminutive Peruvian, who was making his home debut after being sidelined with an injury since February, connected on an acrobatic header in the 88th minute to end New York City’s four-match winning streak. The three points improve the ‘Caps record to 7W-7L-3D and into a tie for sixth place and above the red line as they hit the mid-point mark of the MLS season.
NYCFC drop to 10W-6L-3D following the high-octane and testy match that saw three lead changes and eight yellow cards handed out.
Fredy Montero gave the ‘Caps the advantage out of the gate, before New York City’s Maxime Chanot and David Villa scored to momentarily take the driver seat at halftime. Jordan Harvey opened his 2017 account early in the second half to draw the ‘Caps even, setting up the scene for Reyna’s late-match heroics.
Whitecaps FC manager Carl Robinson made two changes to the starting XI from last weekend’s defeat at Chicago Fire as Kendall Waston and Montero replaced the suspended Matías Laba and Bernie Ibini.
The changes paid instant dividends as Vancouver did not take long to get on the board. Just three minutes into the match, forward Brek Shea dispossessed Chanot in the visitors’ half to initiate the chance. Montero beat NYCFC midfielder Alexander Ring to the lofted through ball, and the Colombian striker found himself with all kinds of space as he calmly put the ball into the bottom right corner for the 1-0 ‘Caps lead.
New York City nearly came up with a quick equalizer two minutes later when winger Thomas McNamara aimed for the top-right corner of the ‘Caps net from outside the box, but goalkeeper David Ousted made the first of his three saves on the evening.
The visitors would draw level off a 34th-minute corner kick from Andrea Pirlo. After RJ Allen’s right-footed shot was initially blocked, Chanot rushed on to the crowd in front of net, then tapped in the loose ball to tie the match at 1-1.
Things were only starting to heat up.
In the 39th minute, Waston was whistled for a foul inside the box when his heavily-wrapped right hand made contact with McNamara in a battle for the ball, awarding New York City a penalty kick. Villa cashed in from the spot, giving NYC the 2-1 lead.
The ‘Caps who would ride their emotion to find the net early in the second frame. Christian Bolaños curled a cross from the right flank and into the left corner of the six-yard box, where Harvey banged in a left-footed volley to knot the score once again at 2-2.
There were plenty of chances left for each side to get the full three points in the final 10 minutes. English youngster Jack Harrison had a pair of opportunities for the visitors but was high of target in the 80th minute, then was denied by Ousted moments later.
This set the stage for Reyna, who came on in the second half to dazzle the crowd with his technical skill and pace, and ultimately won the match for the ‘Caps with his diving header off a setup from Jake Nerwinski and Techera.
Whitecaps FC now head into the international break with momentum and will be back in action on Wednesday, July 19 when they visit LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. PT.