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New York City runs past first-place DC United for a desperately needed 3-1 win

On a thrilling Thursday night in the Bronx, the hometown Blues secured all three points in their perilous race for the playoffs. The stars came out. Did they ever.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Well, how about that.

In front of a raucous weeknight crowd of 28,262, New York City commanded their way to a famous 3-1 victory over Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United.

And it wasn't close.

The home team dominated the pace of the game, and the black-and-red were lucky to escape the Bronx having only surrendered three.

On this night, New York City simply dictated. Andrea Pirlo and Kwadwo Poku again flashed the brilliant rapport they demonstrated over a glorious half-hour at home against Orlando City, and goal-scoring aces David Villa and Tommy McNamara once again did not disappoint.

The Blues, who trotted out without Frank Lampard, bombed their way forward from the start of the match. Angelino, McNamara, and the unflappable Villa administered the left side of the pitch with savvy and intent, while a determined Mix Diskerud and the ever-marauding Poku shaded right to stretch out the hapless opposition. The home team would feel hard-done to not find the net in the first forty-five, as they bossed pace and possession with panache.

Unfortunately, United would head into the break with the lead: in the 37th minute, an ill-timed ball from Andrea Pirlo was intercepted by leading United scorer Chris Rolfe, who raced forward to find Alvaro Saborio. The striker outfoxed the New York City defense and beat goalkeeper Josh Saunders to open the scoring.

At the half, the taste was bitter for the home team. They would prove, however, to have the last laugh. And then some.

An undeterred New York City side, which felt free to play its own game without the presence of the injured Lampard and the stupefying Jefferson Mena, were plenty confident as they trotted out for the second half down a goal. Five minutes into the period, Andrew Jacobson sprang Poku on a beastly run down the right flank. The Ghanaian schooled United keeper Bill Hamid out of his shoes, and only had to sweep it calmly across for Tommy McNamara for a tap-in goal. It was Poku's team-leading seventh assist in league play.

Just like that, 1-1. And the hometown boys weren't finished.

Poku asserted himself more and more down the right wing as the half wore on, terrorizing United's hapless bunch as the pressure never let up. He fired on target only to be parried by Hamid, and later launched a keen effort that flew across the face of goal only to crash off the far post.

The breakthrough came in the 80th minute. United lost possession as the ball trickled to the feet of Andrea Pirlo. The maestro acted quickly, looping a resplendent bounce-pass ahead to a racing David Villa. In a glimmering moment of individual skill, El Guaje squeezed through two jockeying defenders to poke an unlikely shot past Hamid to give his team the lead.

Just eight minutes later, Poku would make up for his squandered chances on goal in grand fashion: a sputtering Bobby Boswell was no match for New York City's howling banshee, who took the DC defender to school and left his head spinning, buying enough space to beat Hamid and snatch the result. The Yankee Stadium crowd may as well have jumped right out of the building.

The final whistle blew with all three points falling to the unlikely victors. The result was an absolute coup for the embattled home side, who face a tough away date next Wednesday night on the road against the Columbus Crew.

Until then, however, the considerable spoils are something to be enjoyed.

Drink it in.