Lampard, Pirlo score as NYCFC beat Philadelphia

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

The Bronx — It was a rare afternoon for New York City FC. All three designated players shared the field Saturday. All three DPs scored. And yes — NYCFC won at home, defeating the Philadelphia Union 3–2 at Yankee Stadium.

Frank Lampard opened the scoring in the 8th minute getting to a scuffed Tommy McNamara shot and finishing from six yards. David Villa doubled the pigeons’ lead in the 21st with a well placed finish inside the near post. Andrea Pirlo finished the scoring five minutes into the second half with a free kick shot just outside the edge of the penalty area.

“I was looking for a reaction after the Open Cup and I had that reaction,” head coach Patrick Vieira said. “It came from Frank, David and Andrea and that’s fantastic. But what I will keep in mind is the team performance. The way we played, especially in the first half and when we went through a difficult period with ten men how we stuck together.  It was really difficult but getting the three points was really important for us.”

This being NYCFC, the near collapse began shortly after Pirlo’s goal. Fabian Herbers won a fortunate penalty that Ronald Alberg converted in the 55th minute. The Union outshot NYCFC 9-1 after Pirlo’s goal and had the run of play throughout the second half. City had to finish the match with ten men after Jason Hernandez picked up his second yellow card in the 85th. Frédéric Brillant‘s own goal in the 88th raised heart rates but substitute Kwadwo Poku cleared the Union’s final corner to keep hearts and the result in tact.

“It would be great to be able to see out a game comfortably,” Lampard said. “We needed to dig in and show character but at the same time if they score in the last minute, we’re at the same place we were in the last few games when it’s happened.”

The entire NYCFC squad was at Fordham for their loss to the Cosmos Wednesday evening. Vieira said the hurt the team felt afterwards motivated them this afternoon. City started the first half strong with a completely changed squad. Jack Harrison started at right wing and helped the pigeons take control completing eight of ten passes in the final third including a backheel assist on Villa’s goal.

“It’s nice to finally get the win,” Harrison said, “I feel like it’s been coming the past couple games. We’ve been playing well the past few games and it’s nice to get the result.”

The win is City’s second at home this season and temporarily propels them into second place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points in 16 matches. They will face Seattle Sounders FC in Seattle this Saturday.