Player of the Matchday

NYCFC's David Villa wins Alcatel MLS Player of the Week after hat trick

On Sunday he almost singlehandedly turned the Big Apple blue, and on Tuesday he was named Alcatel MLS Player of the Week.

David Villa bagged his first MLS hat trick to lead New York City FC past their crosstown rivals the New York Red Bulls in a wild 3-2 win at Yankee Stadium, pushing him into first place in the league’s Golden Boot race and earning POTW honors for Week 22, as voted on by the North America Soccer Reporters (NASR). It’s the second such honor for "El Guaje" this season.

The Spaniard now has 17 goals in league play this season, to run his career MLS total to 58 in 85 games. And the reigning MLS MVP’s exploits have kept NYCFC near the top of both the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings, just four points behind leaders Toronto FC.

Villa opened Sunday’s scoring in the 28th minute, coolly finishing an opportunistic breakaway after teammate Alex Ring blocked a Red Bulls pass into space behind the RBNY back line.

After Bradley Wright-Phillips netted twice to drive the visitors into the lead, Villa took control of the match down the stretch. First he raced down the pitch on a 60-yard solo dribble capped by a firm strike inside the near post. And barely three minutes later he earned, then converted a game-winning penalty kick to bank City’s second New York Derby win of the season.

NYCFC return to action on Saturday with a nationally-televised visit to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center (11 pm ET | ESPN2 in US, MLS LIVE in Canada).

The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.