NEW YORK – David Villa and Kwadwo Poku scored late for New York City FC, which rallied to defeat D.C. United, 3-1, at Yankee Stadium Thursday night.
Andrea Pirlo set up Villa for his team-leading 14th goal of the season to put NYCFC in front, 2-1 in the 80th minute.
Pirlo lofted a ball from the midfield to Villa, who split a pair of D.C. defenders at the edge of the box before beating D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid with a low shot.
Two minutes from full time, Poku put the finishing touches on a critical win when he latched onto a long ball by Tommy McNamara and put his low shot in off Hamid, igniting a "Poku Party" from the 28,262 in attendance.
With his assist on Villa’s game-winning goal, Pirlo atoned for a bad giveaway that led directly to Alvaro Saborio’s fifth goal of the season and second for D.C. United, which fell to 13-8-5.
Pirlo’s attempted back pass landed at the feet of Chris Rolfe, who turned and made a long run toward goal before finding Saborio on his right. The Costa Rican tapped in to put the visitors in front, 1-0 in the 36th minute.
NYCFC (7-11-6) equalized five minutes into the second half on McNamara’s fifth goal of the season. Andrew Jacobson played a terrific ball into space for Poku, who rounded Hamid before slotting to McNamara, who knocked the ball in from inside the six.
The goal came just after Poku, who leads NYCFC with seven assists, put a low shot on frame from the edge of the 18-yard box, forcing Hamid to parry it away.
The expansion team continued to press for the go-ahead goal with Angelino playing a dangerous ball toward the back post that Hamid back peddled to parry away on the hour mark. Two minutes later, Villa found space in the box, but his shot bounced wide of the far post.
Villa then turned provider for Poku, but the fan favorite blasted his shot from 12 yards out off the post.
Three minutes after NYCFC conceded, Poku, starting for the injured Frank Lampard (quad), powered into the box and slipped to an open Villa on his left. NYCFC’s captain put his shot on frame, but it was cleared off the line by Bobby Boswell.
Josh Saunders was aggressive off his line in the first half, twice snuffing out quality D.C. United scoring opportunities.
In the third minute, Conor Doyle was played behind the NYCFC defense, but Saunders slid to kick the ball away. It took a slight deflection and rolled back toward the goal where Shay Facey cleared off the line.
In the 34th minute, Saunders again raced off his line to deny Sean Franklin.
D.C. United returns to the field Wednesday (8 pm ET, FOX Soccer Plus) in CONCACAF Champions League action as they head to Panama to take on Arabe Unido. Also Wednesday, NYCFC takes to the road to meet Columbus Crew SC (7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).