Villa scores as New York City kick off with a win
Over 3,000 miles from home, 864 days since they were founded and after one of Major League Soccer's most controversial transfers, New York City finally kicked into action with a 2-0 win against St Mirren on Tuesday.
New York will call the world-famous Yankee Stadium their home in MLS next season, but began life at the City Football Academy, in the shadow of sister club Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.
A healthy crowd turned out to witness the franchise's on-pitch birth, including an occasionally boisterous bunch who had travelled from north of the border to cheer on St Mirren, while over 3,000 tuned in via New York's YouTube account.
David Villa will captain the side this season and Spain's record goalscorer secured his place in the history books by scoring his new side's first goal during a 45-minute cameo before his half-time replacement, Tony Taylor, grabbed New York's second as a team made up largely of replacements were equally impressive.
Jason Kreis - shorn of another star signing Frank Lampard after he opted to prolong his Premier League sojourn with New York's big sister - will have been relieved to finally turn his attentions to game time, admitting after the match his squad had had "maximum 15 training sessions" as a group.
An MLS Cup winner from his time with Real Salt Lake, Kreis outlined his attention to bring attractive football in an attempt to spark a new sporting giant in the home city of the Knicks and Yankees, a plan which appeared to be bearing fruit in an impressive display.
After going close twice early on, it was little surprise to see Villa score New York's maiden goal just after the half-hour – the World Cup winner finishing calmly after left-back Chris Wingert's fizzing cross was not dealt with.
A raft of substitutions at the interval and into the second period did little to stem New York's dominance built on possession, but a more direct approach led to their second as a long hook upfield released Taylor and the number 99 powered his finish home.
Having tasted success at the first time of asking, New York continue their preparations with another fixture against Danish side Brondby on Sunday before they head back Stateside to prepare for their MLS bow against fellow league newboys, Kaka's Orlando City on March 8.