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Medina’s beauty paces NYCFC to blowout win (video)

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Jesus Medina picked up a goal and an assist as New York City FC made it back-to-back wins with a 3-0 beatdown of Montreal at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.

Ronald Matarrita and Jonathan Lewis also scored for NYCFC, with Maxi Moralez and Matarrita adding assists on the night.

[ MORE: Tyler Adams to Bundesliga? ]

NYCFC held Montreal without a shot on target and forced five saves out of Evan Bush. City has seven clean sheets on the season.

Montreal falls to 2-9 away from home. The Impact had won four-straight heading into the match, and sit sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Back to Medina: The Paraguayan 21-year-old scored his first goal since April with this banger, (in)adequately catered by Montreal’s top of the box defense.

Three things: NYCFC flying with Villa, Medina at the helm

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Week 2 of the 2018 MLS season is in the books, and New York City are one of just four teams with six points following Sunday’s 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy.

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Earlier today, I advocated against making any judgments whatsoever about the MLS season before the calendar reads May or June. Barely two hours later, I’m ready to ignore my own advice and tell you that NYCFC are very, very good — largely based upon the entirety of 2017, but also the way they’ve kicked off the 2018 season…

[ MORE: MLS 2018 season previews ]

Medina lessens the blow of losing Harrison

Jack Harrison was, in so many ways, a perfect complement to David Villa, in that he was only slightly less aggressive and quick to transition than the legendary Spaniard. He was an abundant source of secondary goals — a must-have for every team, even ones with a Villa-caliber spearhead.

Everyone was, understandably, unsure how NYCFC would replace Harrison’s final-third production following his transfer to Manchester City. It was a big ask for 20-year-old Paraguayan attacker Jesus Medina to walk straight into an established squad and immediately shoulder the load as Villa’s primary running mate. Through two games, Medina has surpassed expectations by miles and miles.

He scored a goal against Sporting Kansas City last week, and was instrumental in setting up both goals against LA. On the first, it was Medina who got the ball wide right, held up play ever so slightly to allow Villa to move ahead of him, and finally slotted the perfectly timed and weighted through ball to the top of the six-yard box. Villa’s shot was saved, but the rebound came to Anton Tinnerholm, who smashed his left-footed shot off the underside of the crossbar and in.

On the second, it was Medina, alongside Ben Sweat, who chased a bouncing ball deep inside NYCFC’s half and eventually won possession, then turned on the jets as he glided around one defender before playing the pass to present itself, a simple square ball to Sweat at the top of the box. Again, Sweat’s shot was saved, but the rebound fell to Villa with an empty net to mark his 100th MLS appearance with a game-winner.

Medina will probably come up short of Harrison’s numbers in the goals column — maybe even for assists, too — but it’s already very clear that he’s got a brilliant soccer mind when it comes to so many of the little things: his movement off the ball, how to time his runs to maximize the space he creates for others, and a willingness to play within the confines of his own strengths and weakness. For a 20-year-old player of any age, he’s been off-the-charts impressive.

Injuries, ineffectiveness, indifference

We’re only two weeks into the season, and LA have already lost superstar attacker Romain Alessandrini to a hamstring injury last week, starting center back Michael Ciani to an injury of his own on Sunday, and supposed-to-be-star Giovani dos Santos to a complete loss of form and ability, and/or an overwhelming sense of indifference. Dos Santos was subbed off at halftime of Sunday’s game, replaced by Servando Carrasco, a defensive midfielder.

Why would Sigi Schmid do that to his most expensive and centerpiece Designated Player, you ask?

Considering LA have considerably curtailed their free-spending tendencies in recent seasons, it’s not at all outside the realm of possibility that they could look to move on from Dos Santos’ contract, which pays him $5.5 million per year, should he continue in this vein of form.

Yes, we’re going to keep talking about VAR

… until MLS and the Professional Referee Organization gets its head on straight. If you missed it yesterday, I ranted at greater length about Baldomero Toledo and Co.’s refusal to even consult the video review available to him after Los Angeles FC scored what will likely be the most egregiously offside goal this season (since, you know, VAR is in place to correct these kind of mistakes).

On Sunday, barely a day later, another instance where VAR could have fixed a potentially “clear and obvious error” occurred in the 85th minute, with LA trailing 2-1 and threatening to equalize, when Ashley Cole was shown a second yellow card for tripping Villa as he prepared to run into 50 yards of open field.

First things first, yellow cards — not even a second yellow — aren’t reviewable within the guidelines set forth by MLS (goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistake identity). Considering a second yellow has the exact same impact as a straight red, which is to effectively end LA’s comeback bid when Cole appears to have made no contact with Villa, it should be reviewable all the same.

These are simple matters of common sense that, were MLS serious about using VAR as a tool to improve the level of refereeing, could be fixed overnight. They started using VAR roughly two-thirds of the way into the season last year, so what’s an amendment to the guidelines after fewer than two dozen game this year?

Report: NYCFC’s Medina was set to sign for Copenhagen; agents intervened

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New York City FC’s newest Designated Player wasn’t supposed to be playing in MLS this year.

That’s if you believe FC Copenhagen coach Ståle Solbakken, who told BT in Denmark that a deal was in place to bring Jesus Medina in for the upcoming Danish league season, only for agents to intervene and bring Medina to NYCFC.

“We have been caught by some South American agents, so we have to see what happens in the last part of the transfer window,” Solbakken said. “I do not want to tell who it is. You can figure it out yourself. But it was the football world at its worst. Agents only think about themselves and how much they can get. Not on player development.

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“We had a deal with the player and we almost had a deal with the club. It was just about how the payment should take place. It’s about that there are some who got a lot of money in their own pocket. And then, what was first out of date for the player was suddenly the best. It may happen and I do not think you get the player to say anything, but it was a very nauseating process. To the player it is sad if he had not lied to us three to four weeks before.”

The 20-year-old Paraguayan midfielder joined NYCFC from Libertad, where he just finished his second season as a first-team regular, scoring 17 goals in league matches over the last two years. Medina also is a star for Paraguay’s U20s, scoring twice in four games for them at the 2017 South American U-20 Championships.

According to multiple reports, Manchester City showed interest in Medina and snapped up the $4 million transfer via City Football Group, sending him to NYCFC for seasoning before a move to Manchester. It’s likely that price-tag that caught the agent’s eyes, and wallets.

NYCFC signs Jesus Medina as third Designated Player

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In an attempt to get younger, Patrick Vieira has brought in another talented Designated Player as New York City FC prepares for the 2018 MLS season.

[ MORE: Leon Goretzka to join Bayern on free transfer ]

On Sunday, NYCFC announced the signing of Jesus Medina — who becomes the club’s third DP signing heading into next year. Medina joins captain David Villa and Maxi Moralez as the team’s DPs.

The 20-year-old Paraguayan joins the MLS side from Club Libertad, who play in Medina’s native country.

“It’s a unique feeling, I’ve always wanted to play at a grand club like New York City FC who are doing great things and it’s a privilege to be here,” Medina told NYCFC.com.

“My first thought when I heard of the interest was that it was a great club, an important club in the United States – it’s a great feeling. Claudio Reyna talked to me and said wonderful things about the club and the league. I then made the decision to go over there to keep growing as a player and as a person.

“It’s also such a special feeling to have a World Cup winner with France as a Head Coach. I think training with such an experienced professional, at my young age, will help me as a player and will hopefully be a great experience for me. He will teach me a lot.

Medina scored 17 goals in his six professional seasons with Libertad, with the young winger making his senior debut at the age of 15.

Additionally, Medina has represented the Under-17 and U-20 national teams for Paraguay, prior to making his senior team debut in 2017 against Mexico.