NEW YORK – They came to Yankee Stadium looking for a party, and that’s just what a crowd of 32,041 got as New York City FC scored three times after halftime to beat Orlando City SC 5-3 on Sunday afternoon.
David Villa scored in each half and Javier Calle, Tommy McNamara and Mix Diskerud added goals in a second half that also marked the Major League Soccer debut of Andrea Pirlo, while Cyle Larin bagged a hat trick in defeat for Orlando.
While the fans chanted for his arrival throughout the first half, the Italian legend came on for Mehdi Ballouchy in the 56th minute and the crowd roared with every touch and pass.
Pirlo was also instrumental in NYCFC’s final two goals, providing the pass to a charging Kwadwo Poku, who had three assists.
After a first half of near-misses, Villa put NYCFC (6-9-6) in front with his 11th goal of the season in the 45th minute. The Spanish legend took down a long ball from Angelino with a sublime first touch that also created separation from defender Sean St. Ledger. Villa then tucked the ball inside the near post from 16 yards.
Larin equalized for Orlando City in the 50th minute when the Canadian international took a long pass from the midfield off his head, turned debutant defender Jefferson Mena and fired a low shot inside the near post.
Three minutes after Orlando City (6-9-6) equalized, Calle put NYCFC back in front with his first MLS goal. McNamara was led to the end line by Andoni Iraola and sent a low cross to an unmarked Calle, who tipped in from just inside the six-yard box.
An open Larin knocked in his second goal of the game in the 61st minute off a pass from Carlos Rivas to tie the match at 2-2.
Villa netted his second in the 67th minute on a play that started with a simple Pirlo pass to Poku, who charged up the field. Poku slipped a pass to Villa, who cut inside Aurelien Collin with his second touch and scored with a deflected effort from 20 yards out.
Four minutes later, McNamara made it 4-2 on a similar setup. Pirlo found Poku, who motored up the middle of the field before passing to McNamara, who ripped the ball in from 12 yards out.
Three minutes later, St. Ledger missed a diving header at the back post that would have leveled for Orlando City, who suffered their third consecutive loss.
Villa nearly had his third in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, but the goal was called back for offside.
A minute later, Kaka hit the post with a free kick. That miss that proved costly, as Mix Diskerud put the game away seconds later off Poku’s third assist.
Orlando return to the Citrus Bowl to take on the Columbus Crew Saturday night, while NYCFC host the Montreal Impact Saturday afternoon.