Big Three Lead NYC FC Past Philadelphia

Andrea Pirlo scored his first MLS goal off a set piece. (Photo via NYCFC Facebook page)
Andrea Pirlo scored his first MLS goal off a set piece. (Photo via NYCFC Facebook page)
Andrea Pirlo scored his first MLS goal off a set piece. (Photo via NYCFC Facebook page)

The scoresheet for New York City FCs win over Philadelphia Union reads like a who’s who European soccer royalty.

Frank Lampard, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo each found the back of net for New York as the squad from the Bronx topped its Eastern Conference rivals 3-2 at Yankee Stadium. The match was New York’s first since Major League Soccer took a two week break during the group stages of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.

The win ended a four-match winless streak for NYCFC, which moved into second place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the Union, who had an eight-match MLS unbeaten streak snapped.

Lampard made the most of his first start of the season, scoring his first goal of the campaign on eight minutes. R.J. Allen continued a strong run down the right flank before crossing to the top of the 18-yard box. Tommy McNamara’s shot deflected off a Union defender and Lampard pounced on the rebound, scoring with his left from eight yards out.

After putting a shot from nearly 50 yards out off the crossbar, Villa netted his league-leading 11th goal of the year in the 21st minute. Josh Saunders corralled a Tranquillo Barnetta corner kick and quickly sent an outlet pass to Villa.

The captain momentarily lost possession, but Harrison gained it back quickly and charged up the middle of the field and into the Union 18-yard box. With two Philadelphia defenders converging, Harrison sent a back pass to Villa, who fired low first time to the left of Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Pirlo scored his first Major League Soccer goal in the 50th minute, slipping a 20-yard free kick around the Union wall and past a flat-footed Blake to give NYCFC (5-5-6) a 3-0 lead.

The Union (6-4-5) pulled a goal back five minutes later when Ronald Alberg scored from the penalty spot.

NYCFC played the final five minutes of regulation with 10 men after Jason Hernandez was sent off for his second bookable offense.

An own goal two minutes from full time cut the NYCFC lead to 3-2, but NYCFC held on to claim three massive points.