New York City FC 3, Philadelphia Union 2 | 2016 MLS Match Recap

That’s the kind of star power New York City FC has been looking for.

All three of the club’s marquee Designated Players scored Saturday afternoon and NYCFC held on late after going down a man to earn a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Union at Yankee Stadium.

Frank Lampard scored just eight minutes into his first start of the 2016 season, before David Villa extended his Golden Boot lead in the 21st minute following a terrific run and backheel pass from rookie Jack Harrison. It was Villa’s 11th goal of the year and Lampard’s first.

Andrea Pirlo then scored his first career MLS goal in the 50th minute, putting NYCFC ahead 3-0 on a free-kick strike from just outside the box that froze Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Second-half sub Roland Alberg opened his own MLS account five minutes later on a penalty kick after Jason Hernandez committed the penalty. Hernandez was ejected for his second yellow in the 85th minute, which opened the door for Brian Carroll to help Philly pull another one back with a header off a corner kick that deflected off Frederic Brillant for an own goal.

But it was not enough for the hard-charging Union, who saw their club-record eight-game unbeaten streak come to an end. New York City FC snapped a four-game winless streak with the victory.

Box Score

Three Things

1. STAR POWER: Villa has been scoring goals at an incredible clip all season but on Saturday, Lampard and Pirlo decided to join the party. Lampard’s goal was probably especially exciting for NYCFC fans since he's been dealing with a calf injury and had only played a combined 44 minutes this season coming in. And Pirlo offered a reminder just how good he is at free kicks with his first MLS goal. The play of the game, though, may have came in the 13th minute when Villa launched a shot from just inside midfield that struck off the crossbar.

2. HANGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE: While NYCFC certainly had a lot to be pleased with -- on top of the goals from the DPs, Harrison also had a big-time game -- they also showed why they’ve given up the most goals in MLS and have the league’s worst home record. They should have been well on their way to an easy win when Pirlo put them up 3-0 early in the second half. Instead, they had to survive a roller coaster that included giving up two goals, going down a man, failing to ice the game with a fourth goal despite several opportunities, and nearly conceding a penalty on the final play of the game. It’s no wonder why Villa was caught screaming at teammates after the final whistle blew.

3. ALBERG SPURS COMEBACK: After struggling through a very rough first half, the Union found a spark after the break when Alberg replaced the defensive-minded Warren Creavalle in the midfield. Alberg, who figures to get more playing time following the untimely departure of Vincent Nogueira, not only stepped up to score the PK but continually found open space in the midfield and was the player who his coach thought should have drawn the last-gasp penalty. Considering this performance came on the heels of his two-goal game in Wednesday’s Open Cup win, it’s probably fair to say Alberg is well on his way to cementing a place in the team’s regular rotation.

They Said It

“We didn’t deserve anything today. Credit to New York City. I thought David Villa was the best player on the field by a lot.”

-- Jim Curtin, Union head coach

Next Up

  • NYC: Saturday, June 25 at Seattle Sounders (5 pm ET, ESPN, MLS LIVE)
  • PHI: Wednesday, June 22 vs. Chicago Fire (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE)