Andrea Pirlo made his final appearance for NYCFC. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
BRONX, N.Y. — Andrea Pirlo’s swan song as a professional soccer player will go down in the books as a one-minute appearance for New York City FC in its 2-0 win over Columbus Crew SC Sunday night.
In reality, the former Italian international midfielder played five minutes of stoppage time for City, which was trying for the third and equalizing goal of the second leg of its MLS Eastern Conference semifinal series elimination by Columbus. NYCFC lost the aggregate-goals series, 4-3.
Pirlo, a vital member of Italy’s 2006 World Cup championship team, replaced left back Ronald Matarrita in the 90th minute to a rousing ovation by the Yankee Stadium crowd.
He tried sending his teammates with two passes, but they were well out of their reach.
Asked about Pirlo’s impact with NYCFC, head coach Patrick Vieira, replied, “I think he has meant a lot to this football club. He’s been a professional. He’s been a really good example for the young players that we have on our team and if they conduct themselves like Andrea, I think they will have a good career.”
Pirlo, 38, officially hasn’t announced his retirement yet, although it is expected soon.
He joined with NYCFC in the summer of 2015.