Fueled by two goals from captain David Villa, NYCFC cruised to a 3-0 win over Orlando on Sunday night, beating their 2015 expansion cousins for the first time in their last seven meetings.
Orlando, who were looking for a three-game season sweep of NYCFC, lost for the first time in their new stadium after opening the building with a 5-0-1 record. Cyle Larin missed a second-half PK for the Lions, who are winless in their last five.
Rodney Wallace also scored for NYCFC, who moved ahead of Orlando near the top of the crowded Eastern Conference standings on goal differential, although both teams have identical 6-4-2 overall records.
MVP PERFORMANCE: Although Andrea Pirlo didn’t play for the fourth time in five games (this time with a minor knee injury), Villa provided more than enough star power for NYCFC on Sunday. His first-half PK — which came after fellow superstar Kaká was whistled for a handball in the box — was perfectly placed and found the back of the net even though Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik guessed the right direction. And his second goal, which put an exclamation mark on the win in the final minutes, was a thing of a beauty. The reigning MVP is now one goal away from reaching 50 in MLS play — in his third season.
HOME COOKING GOES STALE: Orlando City, which had already set a record for the most consecutive wins to open a new stadium, was going to lose a home game at some point this year. But few would have expected them to lose in this manner as they got thoroughly outplayed by a team whose number they had since both teams joined the league in 2015. Luckily for the Lions, they’ll have three straight home games to try to get their mojo back following next week’s trip to Minnesota.
ROAD WARRIORS: New York City FC was naturally disappointed to drop a midweek game at struggling Real Salt Lake. But they should be generally pleased with their road trip after taking a point from FC Dallas last Sunday and closing out their grueling three-games-in-three-different-time-zones week with such a convincing win in Orlando. With a 3-3-1 road mark on the season, Patrick Vieira’s group continues to be one of the league’s most formidable teams away from home.