Tuesday January 19th, 2016

NYCFC’s David Villa viewed his first season in MLS in different ways. “I’m very happy to one side: I was very healthy aside from some small issues. I enjoyed the season and adjusted to the league. And obviously I was unhappy about not reaching our objective, which was the playoffs,” he said on Tuesday. “But the second season is about to start, and I look forward to changing that.”

Villa said he met with new coach Patrick Vieira twice in the past month “and went over his objectives for the season and the future.” What makes MLS different from most other leagues is simple: Even teams that missed the playoffs like NYCFC can have hopes of turning things completely around the following season.

“The most important thing in your career is to win titles,” said Villa. “I want the fans to be happy. I want to play here a few more years and leave people with a good memory of me and what I do on the field.”

But NYCFC isn’t about only Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, Villa said. For example, he likes Tommy McNamara, Khiry Shelton and Patrick Mullins. And he really likes the potential of cult hero and midfielder Kwadwo Poku, the 23-year-old Ghanaian who had four goals and seven assists in 27 games (six starts) in 2015.

“The growth of this kid and his desire to get better—I’ve seen very few players in my career like this,” Villa said. “Obviously he is young and needs to learn more things with respect to physical conditioning, but if we can help him he will be incredible in the future.”

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