(NYCFC’s David Villa battles LA’s Nigel de Jong – USA Today Sports)
In the battle of the European stars, New York City Football Club beat the LA Galaxy 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
These are arguably the two highest-profile teams in the MLS, as NYCFC boasts Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, and David Villa, while Los Angeles has Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, and Ashley Cole.
This was the first time the number 8’s, English national teammates Lampard and Gerrard, faced each other in the MLS. For years, they battled in the English Premier League when Lampard’s Chelsea and Gerrard’s Liverpool vied for titles.
“It’s normal, we’re used to it. It was Lampard versus Gerrard in the England team, it was Chelsea-Liverpool for many a year. I love it,” Lampard said of his rivalry with Gerrard ahead of the match. “I think we’re more relaxed about it and we can enjoy it more these days.”
NYCFC came out strong, especially Lampard, who was looking to make something happen when he was taken down by a Galaxy defender in the box in the fifth minute. To his dismay, there was no call.
A minute later, NYCFC crashed the net, as Ronald Matarrita got off a shot, which deflected off Galaxy goaltender Clement Diop, and Villa slipped by two defenders to score.