New York City FC's David Villa hits a fantastic brace!

NEW YORK – With his team on the brink of clinching a first-ever playoff berth, why shouldn’t David Villa be in the conversation for MLS MVP?

For the veteran striker, who netted a brace in a 4-1 win over the Chicago Fire Friday night, the award would be equally about his performance as New York City FC’s throughout the season.

“It would be nice for the club, obviously for me too,” Villa said. “I’m always thinking the same in my career. The best you can do on the pitch is good for the team. When the team is good, individually the players are good. If you say I can be MVP, it's for NYCFC, which is top of the table now. With the same work from me, if the team is in a bad position, it's impossible to fight for MVP.”

Villa might have put himself back into that conversation with a virtuoso performance Friday night. He had two goals and an assist, moving to within one goal of Bradley Wright-Phillips of the Red Bulls (20 goals) in the Golden Boot race.

For NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira, it was vintage Villa.

“When he’s playing like that, nobody can stop him,” Vieira said. “From the first minute, the way he’s closing people down, the way he’s fighting, he’s the captain of the team, a leader of the team and I think tonight’s performance was one of the best I’ve seen of him so far.”

Villa followed Jefferson Mena’s opening goal in the eighth minute with a low strike from 17 yards off a pass from Khiry Shelton. Seven minutes from full time, the former Spanish international had his fifth brace of the year and his 19th tally of the season, taking another feed from Shelton, cutting inside Michael Harrington before clinically finishing inside the far post.

“That’s David,” Shelton said. “He’s been doing it for several years now, just a fantastic player.”

Villa admitted he bounced back after a few subpar performances to put his team on the brink of history. More games like that and NYCFC’s first foray into the MLS playoffs might not be a short one.

“When we have a David like tonight,” Vieira said, “we are really on a different level.”