Photo by Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports
By MICHAEL PENG
NEW YORK — The emotions of the crowd at Yankee Stadium swung from side to side, but when it was all said and done, the home supporters among the 32,041 in the stands came away with a quite pleasant victory on Sunday afternoon.
Featuring the debut of Andrea Pirlo, the goals started to come one after another in the second half, and New York City FC ultimately claimed a 5-3 victory over its fellow expansion club, Orlando City, in the two sides’ second meeting.
David Villa recorded a brace while Javier Calle, Tommy McNamara and Mix Diskerud tacked on the other three goals, helping NYCFC overcome a hat trick by Orlando City’s rookie Cyle Larin.
Villa opened the scoring just before halftime, as he displayed a masterful first touch on a lobbing pass from Angelino to bring down the ball just inside the box before sending it past Orlando City defender Sean St. Ledger and goalkeeper Tally Hall into the bottom left corner.
After the restart, Larin quickly registered the first equalizer for Orlando City, as he gathered a pass from Servando Carrasco before fighting off another NYCFC debutant, Jefferson Mena, en route to his score. Mena came on as a substitute to replace an injured Chris Wingert in the 14th minute.
The score did not stay level for long, as McNamara found Calle just minutes later with a rolling cross toward the far post before the latter slotted the ball home to retake the lead for NYCFC.
In the 56th minute, Yankee Stadium erupted as Pirlo stepped onto the pitch for NYCFC for the very first time, replacing Mehdi Ballouchy. Pirlo got his first touch of the ball a minute later and drew rousing cheers from the home supporters as he sprayed passes all over the field.
However, Larin did not allow that temporary elation last too long. With Carlos Rivas dribbling down the left side, Larin made a run into the box before receiving a low cross from Rivas and evened the score again in the 61st minute.
The trading of goals continued six minutes later when Villa notched his 12th score of the season on a shot from outside the box. The NYCFC captain worked a few dribbles around Orlando City defenders before unleashing a strike that deflected off an OCSC defender and froze Hall along the way.
McNamara then gave NYCFC some cushion in the 71st minute on a marking blunder by Orlando City. With Kwadwo Poku working on the right flank, McNamara made a run into the box and was left alone in the box, giving him a clear look on goal as he blasted the ball past Hall with his left foot, while giving Poku his second of three assists on the day.
With NYCFC holding a multi-goal lead for the first time on the day, the home fans started to celebrate a bit early, but Larin and Kaka gave them a couple of scares in the waning minutes of the contest.
Larin completed his hat trick in the 85th minute when Kaka set him up with a pass that led him just inside the edge of the box. The rookie then aimed for the top right corner and beat NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders for the third time to trim the deficit.
Later, in the first of three minutes of stoppage time, Orlando City was awarded a free kick around 25 yards out. The scene drew resemblance to the two teams’ first meeting in their respective season-openers as Kaka was able to equalize on the set piece on February 21.
This time, however, Kaka’s shot clanked off the right post of the goal and inadvertently set up a speedy counter-strike by NYCFC.
With Villa, Diskerud and Poku streaking down the other side of the field, a series of passes connected between the trio ultimately gave Diskerud a chance to put the exclamation point on the thrilling contest.
The win allowed NYCFC to bounced back from a 1-0 loss on the road last week in New England, while giving the team nine goals in its last two games at home. Orlando City, meanwhile, dropped consecutive matches to New York-based clubs, as it was just coming off a 2-0 loss to the Red Bulls on July 18.
NYCFC will play hosts again next Saturday when it attempts to sweep the Montreal Impact, while Orlando City returns home to host the Columbus Crew.