They are two of the biggest names in the soccer world and have played in some of the most important games ever.
And on Thursday night at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, NYCFC teammates David Villa and Andrea Pirlo will play in Major League Soccer’s showcase event – the 2016 MLS All-Star Game against Arsenal.
It is the second all-star appearance for Villa, who scored what proved to be the winning goal in a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last July.
The Captain, who has started 21 of NYCFC’s 32 games, leads the league with 13 goals and has three braces on the year. Villa is also second in total shots (119) and shots on goals (49).
While this is Villa’s second trip to the All-Star game, Pirlo is making his first appearance. In his first full season in MLS, The Maestro has been a fixture in the middle of NYCFC’s midfield.
He has started in all 20 matches that he’s appeared in and is tied with teammate Tommy McNamara for third in MLS with eight assists, three of which were on game-winning goals.
Pirlo, who has an assist in four of the last five games, also scored his first career MLS goal on a brilliant free kick in a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Union on June 18.
Villa and Pirlo, along with the play of the Club’s other designated player, Frank Lampard (five goals and one assist in seven starts), are a big reason why NYCFC is top of the Eastern Conference heading into the All-Star Game.
“I think we are doing well, of course, because of those three players, they are playing really good, they are dictating the tempo of our game,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said earlier this month. “I think the way we want to play suits them really well.”