The game in 100 words (or less): For the first time since Andrea Pirlo became a regular start for New York City FC (only three games, admittedly), Jason Kreis’s men are winners following a 3-1 victory over league-leading D.C. United at Yankee Stadium Thursday night. Frank Lampard missed yet another game with a minor injury, but it was NYCFC’s two active Designated Players who led the way in a second-half comeback. Pirlo picked up his first MLS assist on the night, while David Villa bagged his 14th goal of the season. NYCFC’s shoddy defending persisted through the first 45 minutes before United went into full-on bunker mode while clinging to a 1-0 lead after halftime. With the victory, NYCFC (27 points) remain eighth in the Eastern Conference but inch closer to sixth-place Montreal (28, three games in hand), while United’s (44) hold onto a two-point lead in the race for the Supporters’ Shield despite their three-game winning streak coming to an end.
Three moments that mattered
36′ — Rolfe and Saborio counter quickly after Pirlo’s giveaway — NYCFC midfielder Pirlo notched his first MLS assist (of the secondary variety) in the 36th minute of this game, when his through ball for United’s Chris Rolfe led to a quick, deadly counter attack the other way. So what if Pirlo passed it to a member of the wrong team? He was brought to MLS to create goals, at least he’s doing his job.
51′ — Villa, Poku and Tommy Mac combine for the equalizer — Watch this ridiculous pass by David Villa. Seriously, watch it! MLS defenders are out of position like that all the time, but so few MLS players can punish them for it. Villa is one of the few. Kwadwo Poku does well to round Bill Hamid and find Thomas McNamara in the goalmouth.
80′ — Pirlo to Villa and NYCFC have themselves a lead — When Pirlo was signed, it was undoubtedly done with visions of his elegantly lofted through balls finding the feet of Villa for goal after goal after goal en route to
winning multiple MLS Cups sneaking into the sixth and final playoff place. In the 80th minute, Pirlo and Villa connected for the first time, 293 minutes into their time together.
Man of the match: David Villa
Goalscorers: Saborio (36′), McNamara (51′), Villa (80′), Poku (88′)