Fans had been chanting for Pirlo throughout the match, and those demands got louder after New York conceded a goal to Cyle Larin.
Pirlo slotted in at central midfield and made his presence felt immediately, whipping crosses onto the left for new teammate David Villa to pick up.
Pirlo came in and Larin added a second goal, but the Italian midfielder made him pay, dropping the Canadian forward with a strong first touch and a turn. He then set up New York's next two goals with his signature passing vision.
Pirlo will soon be joined by Frank Lampard in New York's midfield; the Chelsea icon is battling a calf injury that has him ruled out of the MLS All-Star Game.