On June 14, 2014, Italy beat England 2-1 in the Group Stage of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Mix Diskerud, who was part of the United States squad in that tournament, posted a succinct tweet in response to the Azzurri’s victory over the Three Lions.
Coincidentally, a little more than a year later, Mix proudly shared that tweet again after New York City FC announced the signing of Andrea Pirlo on July 6.
“I didn’t know he’d be playing here a year later,” Mix said. “He’s a quality player and it’s a lot of fun having him here. I’m trying to learn as much as I possibly can from him.”
Mix, Pirlo and the rest of New York City FC return to action on Saturday afternoon against the Montreal Impact. Kickoff is 2 p.m. ET from Yankee Stadium (YES Network, WFAN, WADO).
The midfield duo made quite the impact in limited action in last week’s 5-3 victory over Orlando City SC.
Pirlo came on as a second-half substitute and was an integral part in two of New York City FC’s goals. Mix, who returned from duty with the national team in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, scored in the 93rd minute to seal all three points.
“It feels great to be back,” Mix said. “Seeing my teammates Sunday was the first time I’ve seen them in a long time and we came away with a win, so it was a very nice start coming back. It felt good to contribute. It was a close game at 4-3 and within 20 seconds we were able to get a goal.”
Both Poku and Mix are looking forward to learning from Pirlo, whose illustrious domestic and international career includes the 2006 FIFA World Cup, two UEFA Champions League crowns and a plethora of domestic trophies in Italy.
“It’s obvious – everyone can see he’s got vision and confidence on the ball like no other,” Mix said. “He’s done a lot of good things in his career. You can see that everything he does is going to be professional.”
“He’s really amazing,” Poku said. “Off the field, on the field -- you can learn a lot. He’s really a legend. I’m trying to learn a lot from him."
New York City FC (6-9-6; 24 points) sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference following a 2-1-1 July, while Montreal (7-8-3; 24 points) are just above the playoff line in sixth place after a 1-0 victory over Seattle on July 25.
The Impact, who are 2-3-1 in their last six matches, recently made a splash in the transfer market by signing former Chelsea FC and Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba. The Designated Player, who was introduced to media on Thursday, will spearhead the club's attack along with Ignacio Piatti, who leads Montreal in goals (6) and assists (4). Dominic Oduro and Jack McInerney have four goals apiece.
Goalie Evan Bush ranks fifth in the league with 63 saves this season.
New York City FC have had an offensive explosion recently, scoring nine goals in the last three matches, but the Club has surrendered eight goals during that span.
“I still think we’ve got a lot of improvements to make,” head coach Jason Kreis said. “I’m frustrated we allowed three goals again in our home stadium last week. In that game we had three new defenders out of the back four. As of a month ago, those players weren’t on our team. When the pieces come together and we continue to work very, very hard to get this team sorted out defensively, I think we’ll be pretty good.”
New York City FC coaches and players know how important another three points, especially at the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, will be with the MLS playoffs in the horizon.
“We have to give everything we have,” Poku said. “We have to make it to the playoffs; that’s our main focus now. Then we’ll take it from there. We’ll take it game by game with that goal in mind.”
Added Mix: “Every single game is going to be important moving forward now. Every single point matters and of course three points are better than one. We’re happy with the result last week, but we have to keep moving forward and keep getting those points.”