The first player in NYCFC history, David Villa began his preparations for the 2015 MLS season in style Down Under.
The Spaniard came off the bench just after halftime and earned a draw for Melbourne Ciy FC against Sydney FC in the season opener.
On in the 48th minute, it took just 14 minutes of game time for Villa to pick up the first goal of his loan spell in Australia. A brilliant cutback across the box from former Fulham and Newcastle winger Damien Duff sliced open the defense and found Villa, and the 32-year-old beat Sebastian Ryall to the ball and hammered it into the far corner.
The goal allowed Melbourne City to begin the season with a point, cancelling out Corey Gameiro’s third goal for Sydney. The draw was played in front of 25,000 people at a sold-out Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
Melbourne City manager John van’t Shipp said the plan was to play Villa for no more than a half because “the risk of injury is too high” at this point.
“We all know that normally, if he’s fit he’s a player you put in the lineup,” van’t Schip said. “But because of his period of inactiveness in playing games, you have to build that up, and that counts even for one of the world’s best finishers. He has to get more playing rhythm, training with us and today, with 45 minutes playing and a goal, next week will be a different story. He can have a good week of training and we’ll make a well thought out decision again next week.”
Despite this, it would appear that David Villa is going to feast on Major League Soccer. His performance against Sydney shows he still has plenty of pace, ability, and lethal instinct at 32 years old. After all, he scored 13 goals and bagged five assists in 36 La Liga appearances just last season.
After seeing other players make the transition from European play to MLS style with ease, there’s no reason why a player with so much left in the tank shouldn’t be able to prove dangerous right away.
He’ll need a supporting cast to help, but if he can get a bit of service, he can certainly turn that into production in front of goal that will light up the City That Never Sleeps.