ORLANDO, Fla. — For Patrick Vieira, there was no great mystery why his New York City FC team turned the tables on Orlando City SC in the third matchup this season between the 2015 expansion rivals.


The NYCFC head coach had insisted before the game that his men had been the better team in their two previous losses to Orlando this year — and he believes that their emphatic 3-0 victory in Florida on Sunday night was simply the result of being more clinical in both penalty boxes this time.


“I thought the way we played today was quite similar to the last two games,” Vieira insisted. “The difference this time was that we created chances and we took our chances. We dominated tonight like the last two games we played against them.


“Each game before was decided by the details, and the details were that [Cyle] Larin was in the right place [to score] in the other games. This time we didn’t give him much space inside the box and [central defenders] Maxime [Chanot] and Alex [Callens] were fantastic against him today.”


Vieira had plenty of praise to go around for his team after David Villa paved the way to victory with a 14th-minute penalty kick following a handball call against fellow Designated Player star Kaká. Villa – who had not scored in four previous visits to Orlando – also iced the win with a breakaway goal after wonderful interplay with Maxi Moralez, while Rodney Wallace popped up in between with a clinical far-post strike 10 minutes before halftime.


In inflicting the Lions’ first defeat in their new stadium, Vieira pointed to every single player for playing their part in the performance – and for sticking with the game plan to avoid a three-game season series sweep to Orlando.


“We showed a lot character tonight,” he said. “I am really proud of all the players because it wasn’t easy traveling and not getting the results we wanted [in the last two road games], and we had a lot personality and desire to compete.


“At the end, we fully deserved to go back to New York with the three points. We dictated and controlled the game from the start to the end, and they struggled to create chances. We defended really well as a team, and I am very satisfied tonight.”


In the absence of big-name midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo – sidelined by a knee injury – the coach was delighted with Mikey Lopez’s return to the starting lineup, which helped to nullify an Orlando squad that had won five times in their last six meetings with NYCFC.


“Mikey had a terrific game,” Vieira said. “It was not easy for him because we came in with a lot of pressure to win this game, but he kept the game really simple, moving the ball from left to right and right to left, and he focused well on his defensive duties.


“I am really happy for him because he came back from injuries and was struggling to get into the 18. But today he showed character, and that’s really good for us as a team.”