David Villa sent off in pre-season match for New York City

MLS Media Week - Day 1

We are now less than a month away from the start of the new MLS campaign and teams are already well into their pre-season preparations.

Patrick Vieira's New York City will be one of those with aspirations of lifting the MLS Cup this term after reaching the Eastern Conference semi-finals last time out.

But they will still need to make some big improvements if their 3-1 loss to Houston Dynamos last night is anything to go by.

Even with David Villa and Andrea Pirlo both on the pitch, Vieira's side struggled - particularly after the Spanish forward was sent off in the first half.

Villa had actually brought his team level in the 15th minute by putting the finishing touch on a fine counter-attack - see the video below - in response to Romell Quioto's second-minute opener.

However, his involvement in proceedings was cut short just before half-time following an off-the-ball incident with A.J. DeLaGarza.

At a New York corner, the ex-Barcelona star appeared to sneakily hit the Houston defender, who then threw himself on the floor as if he'd been shot.

Referee Nima Saghafi caught the altercation and halted play to initially book Villa.

But less than a minute later he reviewed his own decision using video technology and decided to send Villa off instead.

You can see the whole incident by skipping to 42:30 in the video below:

Regardless of how overdramatic DeLaGarza's reaction might have been, Villa should have known better than that - especially if he knew video technology was also in play.

Goals from Alex and Memo Rodriguez sealed the victory for Houston, however, if there was ever an advert for video technology being used in Europe, this was it.

For important decisions, the benefit of television replays could make a vital difference in the sport's biggest matches.

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