Jesus Medina gathered in an L.A. Galaxy turnover near the halfway line and found himself face to face with the former Arsenal, Chelsea and England national Ashley Cole. Medina waited for the moment that Cole was square in his defensive stance to push the ball past the 37-year old and collect it on the other side of the defender. Moments later, Medina delivered a perfect pass to Ben Sweat whose first time shot was saved by David Bingham. The rebound fell to David Villa who followed with the decisive goal in the match.
New York City FC defeated the Galaxy, 2-1. NYCFC opened the season with an earnest 2-0 road win at Sporting KC and have won two straight to open the campaign for the first time in club history.
The Young Designated Player, Medina, had a prominent role in all four successful strikes.
In Kansas City, Medina was on the left wing when he slipped a pass between defenders to Villa who beat Ike Opara to the end-line on his assist of a Maxi Moralez goal. Medina then registered his first tally in Major League Soccer with a precise two-touch finish in front of Sporting KC goalkeeper, Tim Melia – arguably the top keeper in MLS.
On the introductory goal against the Galaxy, Medina was positioned on the right flank when he pushed a pass through a seam for Villa which led to Anton Tinnerholm’s initial MLS goal.
Medina has relished a prompt link with the captain, Villa.
“It’s good both on and off the field,” said Medina, “We have a good connection.”
“I mean, he’s 20 years old and the club can pay a few million for him because he’s a really, really, really good player,” Villa said. “He did well – I was impressed.”
The young Designated Player, who has been selected to the MLS Team of the Week twice in two weeks, has grown accustomed to the professional ranks in his native Paraguay. He made his first-team debut with Libertad as a 15-year old and played in 74 league matches with offers from Italy and Denmark prior to his union with NYCFC. He has featured with the U-17’s and U-20’s and debuted with the senior national team against Mexico last summer.
“I think people expect a lot from him and getting on the score sheet is nice for him,” said one of his new teammates, Alex Ring. “He’s a young kid and he’s going to need our support. I think we are going to enjoy a lot of him.”
“It’s difficult to come in here in a different country, a different language from the start,” Villa said. “To do these kind of games is talking very good about him, no?”
Medina has joined a legion of young South Americans who have identified MLS as a proper league for individual development including three compatriots – Miguel Almirón, Cristhian Paredes and Josue Colmán. Like Medina, they were signed for their attacking prowess.
The MLS All-Star from Atlanta United, Almirón (24 yrs), provided comfort and support for Medina during the decision process. Paredes (19 yrs) has started both matches with the Portland Timbers while Colmán is recovering from a quad contusion. The young DP for Orlando City SC trained full on Wednesday and could debut at Yankee Stadium this Saturday when his side meets up with Medina and NYCFC.
Medina has started both contests for NYCFC but has failed to register a 90-minute match. His coach Patrick Vieira can understand Medina’s disappointment but declared this as one of the positive qualities for the winger.
“I love the way he worked for the team and how he created space for the players,” Vieira said after the Galaxy triumph. “He’s got the quality to make the assist or the pass before the assist. He understands the game really well. What I love about him as well – he wasn’t happy to come off.”
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