David Villa's 1st MLS hat trick lifts New York City FC to bounceback win

NEW YORK – Add another first for David Villa in a spectacular Major League Soccer career.

The New York City FC captain took his team on his back and scored his first career hat trick in a thrilling 3-2 win over the New York Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium Sunday evening.

“It is important because today we need one goal more," Villa said. "It’s important because it gives to the team three points.”

Villa scored twice in a three-minute span late in the second half, including the winner from the penalty spot, to secure NYCFC’s second win this season over the Red Bulls after losing five of the first six in this derby.

The Spaniard now leads MLS with 17 goals, one more than Chicago’s Nemanja Nikolic. But it was his leadership, perhaps more than his scoring acumen, that had NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira raving afterward.

“I think when he’s in a mood like he was today, he’s fantastic,” Vieira said. “I always say it, David is our leader and when he’s performing like that, that leads the team and players are behind and follow him. When David is playing really well, the team is playing well. Today, he was David.”

Villa, who left the match to chants of ‘MVP, MVP’ from most of the 33,679 in attendance Sunday, was humble in the NYCFC locker room after what Vieira called one of the top three wins since he’s become the coach.

“I try to do my best always in the training facility, in the games. I try to show every young player that I arrive where I arrive because I always give 100 percent on the pitch,” Villa said. “You can play well like today and score three goals, you can play bad like in Toronto the other day, I did. But it’s mandatory to give 100 percent and I try to do that.”

The victory for NYCFC was important on several levels. Of course, it came against their biggest rivals, who were nipping at their heels for third place in the Eastern Conference. But it also comes after their most lopsided loss of the season – a 4-0 defeat at Toronto last Sunday.

“Obviously happy, so happy because its important game for the supporters, an important game because we lost to Toronto the other day with a bad face,” Villa said. “It’s important for me to score, for the supporters, it’s a great, great day for us.”

While it appears NYCFC is tipping the derby blue in 2017 after it was decidedly red for the first two years, Vieira pumped the brakes a bit. He wants his team to enjoy it, but also understand there’s so much more work to do.

“We are not a big team yet, because a big team play every week like today,” Vieira said. “We are not available to do it at the moment. This game is fantastic. We won the game, we take the three points, but I expect more consistency from the team.”