Captain David Villa struck twice to lead eight goal-scorers in New York City FC’s 9-0 rout of Jacksonville University in the preseason opener for the team in Jacksonville, Fla. Thursday night.

Ethan White, John Stertzer, Jack Harrison, Jalen Brown, Jonathan Lewis, Kwame Awuah and Roberto Louima also found the back of the net.

City head coach Patrick Vieira said he was most pleased with the manner in which his team approached the game, keeping up the intensity in spite of the rapidly escalating scoreline.

“It was a really good game and I was very pleased – with the first game you just want to see your players understand what we worked on for the last few days,” he said. “We can be pleased because they worked well and the intensity of the game was really good. It was a good first game for us.

“I was really pleased with the number of goals we scored and the chances we created because that is the philosophy of the football club.

“But I was most pleased with the attitude the players showed today. The game sometimes looked a little bit easy for us but they respected the game and that means a lot to me and I’m in a really positive mood.”

Vieiraalso was impressed with James Sands’ performance on his first start for the Blues. Sands, who has played on defense as a U.S youth international, performed at the base of midfield in the first half and looked at home next to Italian standout Andrea Pirlo.

“The young players worked really hard and they didn’t show any fear,” Vieira said. “They expressed their talent in the collective of the team – they just need to keep working hard. I was really happy in the way they approached their work in this first 45 minutes.

“James is 16-years old and he played with a lot of confidence – he was comfortable on the ball and it’s not easy when you’re that young to play alongside Andrea Pirlo and David Villa but he was really composed and he made the game look really easy.”

NYC FC will meet Emelec in Ecuador next Wednesday. That professional side will be a much greater challenge for the MLS side.

“First we just need to get ready for training and to look at players to add more minutes into their legs,” Vieira said. “Obviously it will be a more complicated, difficult game but if the players can play around an hour that will be good.”