David Villa celebrates his goal with Ronald Matarrita.  (Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports)

TORONTO — All things considered, David Villa could not have asked for a better return to New York City FC.

After missing seven games with a knee injury, the team captain made a triumphant return by scoring a goal 15 minutes into the match in what turned into a 3-2 win over Toronto FC Sunday.

Villa hadn’t played since June 24 and hadn’t scored since May 25.

“I’m happy to be back to be with the team,” Villa said. “I was very worried. It was a bad time for me because I couldn’t help the team and I lost my focus. I did everything to help us out but the knee says no every time so I need to wait until my knee says yes.”

The Spanish international was subbed out by forward Jo Inge Berget in the 70th minute.

“To play 70 minutes, in a difficult scenario because we played with a lot of heat, a lot of hours in the trip and travel, but I’m happy,” he said. “I’m happy for the victory of the team, that is the most important thing. “To help the team win the game I’m happy for as well.”

NYCFC moved within a point of first-place Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference.

A quarter hour into the match, Villa scored his ninth goal of the season. Right back Anton Tinnerholm mis-shanked a shot from the right side that went straight to Villa, who powered a shot into the lower right corner to lift NYCFC into a 1-0 lead.

“I was feeling good in the first half,” Villa said. “Probably in the second half I was feeling a little bit tired. We had a plan before the game for me to play about 60 minutes, I can play 70 minutes finally, so I’m happy. Obviously, I need time, I need time because I spent a lot of time away, I need time to gain confidence in my knee. But obviously my body is not in the same condition as the other players because I was out. I tried to do my best and the first half I was feeling very good, not only for the goal, not only for the plays, because my knee managed very well.”

NYCFC head coach Domenec Torrent welcomed Villa back to the Starting XI, but noted the team was able to get results. The side was 4-2-1 during the forward’s absence.

“We were able to win without David because we have a strong team and strong players,” he said. “But obviously everyone knows that David is special for us because, as you’ve seen today, in his first action he was able to score a goal.

“Sometimes we play with David and Jo, sometimes we play four-four-two, and sometimes we play with wingers wide. We can play in different ways. For me it’s the best way to play football.”