David Villa ensured Andrea Pirlo marked his New York City FC debut in style after scoring twice in the 5-3 victory over Orlando City on Sunday.
Villa struck either side of halftime to propel NYCFC to three points and provide enough leeway to weather a Cyle Larin hat trick in this wild affair, but Pirlo provided the primary talking point as he made his MLS debut after the break.
Pirlo linked up with his new teammates earlier this week and signaled his intention to make his first appearance for his new side in this fixture. The former Juventus star replaced Mehdi Ballouchy after 57 minutes and triggered a considerable response from the NYCFC faithful when he took his first steps onto the field.
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Larin engineered the appropriate response for Orlando City with his goal five minutes after the break. Larin’s tidy finish ended a 315-minute scoreless streak from the run of play and sparked an immediate reply from NYCFC down the other end. Javier Calle registered his first MLS goal after 53 minutes as Orlando City failed to maintain the necessary solidity after pulling level.
Larin equalized for the second time just after the hour to peg NYCFC back shortly after Pirlo’s arrival into the proceedings. Pirlo played a part in the third goal before Kwadwo Poku set the stage for Villa to grab his second goal after 67 minutes. Thomas McNamara completed another neat move four minutes later to increase the advantage to 4-2.
Orlando City continued push in the late stages and received a reward when Larin completed his hat trick five minutes time. Larin poked home from the edge of the penalty area to throw his side a lifeline.