20.05.2018 03:19 h

Villa strikes twice in NYCFC 4-0 MLS romp over Colorado

David Villa celebrated "David Villa Day" with two goals on Saturday as New York City FC trounced Colorado 4-0, handing the Rapids their fifth straight Major League Soccer defeat.

The New York mayor's office had proclaimed "David Villa Day" in honor of the Spaniard's 400th goal in all competitions -- achieved on April 29.

With NYCFC back home at Yankee Stadium for the first time since, Villa put up numbers 403 and 404.

In between, Ronald Matarrita celebrated his World Cup call-up for Costa Rica with his first goal of the season and Maxi Moralez delivered his fifth goal of the campaign.

City came out strong and were denied an early goal by Colorado keeper Tim Howard's sprawling save of a shot by Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.

Howard could do nothing about Villa's opener in the 22nd, a side-footed finish of Moralez's pass.

New York doubled the advantage five minutes into the second half when Jo Inge Berget's shot was parried by Howard and Matarrita then headed the ball home.

Five minutes later, Moralez made it 3-0 with a strike from the edge of the penalty area, and Villa completed the scoring with another cool finish.

It was a much-needed boost for New York, who were humbled at New York Red Bulls earlier this month then held to a 2-2 draw at Los Angeles FC last Sunday.

"It was a really, really important day for me and for the club," Villa said. "But we need to keep going. We have a tough game on Friday in Houston."

With the win, Patrick Vieira's team kept the pressure on Eastern Conference leaders Atlanta, whom they trail by one point.

The Portland Timbers continued their strong play in the West, edging LAFC 2-1 at home.

Portland opened the scoring early in the second half after midfielder Diego Valeri struck a free kick from the top of the box through the LA wall that goalkeeper Tyler Miller saved, but could not clear from danger.

Cristhian Paredes put away the rebound to celebrate his 20th birthday a day late -- with his first MLS goal.

LAFC tied the match on a beautiful, curling shot from Carlos Vela, only to see Portland's Samuel Armenteros answer with blast from distance that gave Portland their fifth straight win.