Andrea Pirlo has arrived in New York and his impact was felt immediately.
The former Juventus man made his New York City FC debut at the 56th minute of his new team’s 5-3 win over Orlando City Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
Replacing Mehdi Ballouchy, Pirlo would help NYCFC take a 3-2 lead, one that it would not relinquish. Spinning away from an Orlando defender, Pirlo found a streaking Poku who drove toward the box before finding David Villa, who then found the back of the net with a deflected shot for his second goal of the match.
Later in the second half, Tommy McNamara would give New York a 4-2 lead, and after Orlando pulled one back, Mix Diskerud scored in stoppage time to seal the victory in front of 32,041 fans.
“I’m really excited about what we’re seeing from the attacking end of the field,” Head Coach Jason Kreis told NYCFC.com. “We have had so many dynamic moments we’re seeing around the goal creating scoring chances. That excites me.”
While Pirlo did not start the match, his presence on the bench created a buzz in the stands with fans continually chanting “We Want Pirlo.”
“It was great because I could tell that the fans wanted me to play,” Pirlo told NYCFC.com. “When I got on the pitch, it was absolutely amazing to hear all of the applause. It was very emotional to hear and I really did appreciate it.”
He is also focused on the the remainder of the season.
“I hope that I will continue to improve my game,” PIrlo said. “I have only been training for three days at this point so I also need to feel more comfortable with my teammates and I am sure we will play well together.”