New York City FC took a 5-3 advantage over San Carlos in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal on Thursday at Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto in Costa Rica.
Heber converted a second-half penalty to complete a hat trick for Ronny Deila’s side — that’s gonna take some getting used to — with Alexander Callens and Alexandru Mitrita scoring NYCFC’s fourth and fifth goals.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
Jorman Aguilar, Marcos Mena,and Omar Browne scored for the Costa Rican hosts with two assists arriving via Randy Chirino.
San Carlos visits Red Bull Arena for the second leg on Wednesday.
The hosts pulled within a goal with 11 minutes to play, but Mitrita buried a rebound of a saved Maxi Moralez penalty kick.
The 28-year-old Heber scored 15 goals and three assists in just 22 appearances last season after arriving from HNK Rijeka in Croatia’s top tier.
The match in 100 words (or less) — Comparing players across “eras” is a fool’s errand, except when the league in question is without question better and the player in question performing this well. David Villa’s nutmeg-started, non-dive-finished goal that cap off New York City FC’s 3-1 win over visiting Minnesota United has more people pondering whether anyone’s been as good in the league as the Spaniard. NYCFC is now comfortably Top Three in the East, and Minnesota remains four points back of sixth in the West.
By the way… NYCFC had an excuse for starting slow.
The moments that mattered
9′ — Johansen makes a mess of things — With Sean Johnson on USMNT duty, former Man City backup Eirik Johansen used his chance to shine by spilling on long distance shot onto the path of should-be USMNT call-up Christian Ramirez. 1-0.
[ MORE: PST talks with Ramirez in NASL days ]
38′ — Callens keeps working to goal — Peruvian national teamer Alexander Callens wasn’t going to let the chance he helped produce go to waste, and followed up his dribble to beat (and bang up) Bobby Shuttleworth and tie the score at 1.
52′ — Harrison coolly nods home — Nice cross from Rodney Wallace and all, but how laid back is this fine header from Jack Harrison?
63′ — “Hi guys, it’s me: Dave” — Goodnight, Loons.
Man of the Match: David Villa
Goalscorers: Christian Ramirez, Alexandre Callens, Jack Harrison, David Villa