Matches in the MLS regular season don't get much bigger than the New York derby — and stars in the league don't get much bigger than David Villa.
So it seemed fitting that the New York City FC captain rose to the occasion Sunday at Yankee Stadium, netting a hat trick as his side earned a 3-2 victory over the rival New York Red Bulls.
Villa opened the scoring in the 28th minute, getting behind the Red Bulls back line and rounding Luis Robles after connecting with a fortuitous deflection off teammate Alexander Ring.
A pair of Bradley Wright-Phillips strikes then put the Red Bulls in front before Villa drew NYCFC level with a 72nd-minute stunner, collecting the ball near midfield, darting down the right flank and cutting inside to bury the equalizer.
And Villa completed his hat trick three minutes later, drawing a penalty on Red Bulls defender Sal Zizzio before coolly slotting home from the spot.
NYCFC improved to 12-7-4 with the win, opening up a five-point lead over the 11-9-2 Red Bulls for third in the Eastern Conference.