First Touch

New York City FC End Winless Run In Montreal

A Matias Pellegrini first-half goal, his first for the club, was enough to earn New York City FC their first win in 12 matches.

Matias Pellegrini (17) Photo: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

CF Montreal 0 NYCFC 1

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New York City Football Club recorded a brilliant road win on Saturday night against CF Montréal at Stade Saputo. The deadlock was broken just after the half-hour mark thanks to an outstanding scissor-kick finish from Matías Pellegrini. Montréal fought vigorously to earn a route back into the game, and while NYCFC pushed for a second, Pellegrini’s goal turned out to be the winner – handing NYCFC its first road win of the season.

Keaton Parks
Keaton Parks (55) plays the ball pressured by CF Montreal midfielder Nathan-Dylan Saliba (19) in the first half at Stade Saputo. Photo: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Boys in Blue travelled to Montréal hoping to make more fond memories at Stade Saputo.

Nick Cushing made three changes to the team that recorded a spirited draw against Portland Timbers last time out, with Luis Barraza, Braian Cufré, and Matías Pellegrini coming in for Matt Freese, Kevin O’Toole, and Gabriel Pereira.

First Half

A weather delay meant kickoff was moved until just after 9:00pm and when the game did begin the first chance fell to NYCFC when Santiago Rodríguez drove inside from the right and unleashed a shot that landed in the goalkeeper’s hands.

The Boys in Blue would build on that early pressure via Talles Magno who found himself in space in the box, but neither of his two efforts was able to trouble Montréal.

At the other end, Montréal’s Gabriele Corbo managed to engineer the space to shoot from distance, but his attempt ended up wide of Luis Barraza’s goal.

NYCFC’s momentum was continuing to build, and they made it pay in sensational style in the 33rd minute thanks to a combination between Cufré and Pellegrini.

The move started with a delightful chipped cross from Cufré that found Pellegrini in space near the edge of the penalty area.

After quickly adjusting his body Pellegrini produced a brilliant scissor kick that flew past the goalkeeper and handed Cushing’s men the advantage.

As the half drew toward a close NYCFC had a brilliant chance to make it two. A flowing counter-attack saw Rodríguez feed Talles Magno in behind, but his effort was well smothered.

The loose ball bounced around the box before falling to Ilenič but his low drive was well saved and Montréal were able to scramble it away.

Alfredo Morales
Alfredo Morales (7) battles CF Montreal midfielder Bryce Duke (10) Photo: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Second Half

The second period saw Barraza called into action early on after Mason Toye was played in behind the NYCFC defensive line, but his effort was well parried by the goalkeeper. 

NYCFC were keen to add a second and the combination play between the front three was proving an issue for Montréal. 

A string of half-chances followed and in the 68th minute NYCFC thought they had their second after more great combination play involving Cufré to whip in a dangerous cross.

On hand was Rodríguez, and although he steered the ball past the goalkeeper his joy was short lived after seeing the offside flag had been raised. 

The 71st minute saw Cushing turn to his bench for the first time as he introduced Richy Ledezma and Gabe Segal in place of Pellegrini and Talles Magno. 

Barraza was again tested in the 75th minute after Jules-Anthony Vilsaint produced a low drive that was creeping inside the post before the goalkeeper tipped it around the post. 

The final ten minutes would see NYCFC introduce their third and fourth substitute, with a proud moment for Nico Benalcazar as he made his debut with the first team. 

The former academy defender joined Stephen Turnbull in entering the game in place of Keaton Parks and Ilenič. 

As the 90th minute mark approached Montréal began to throw everything at the NYCFC goal, but the team’s defence stood tall with countless clearances and blocks. 

In the end, Montréal could not find an equalizer, meaning Pellegrini’s strike would decide the game and hand NYCFC three points and a first road win of the season.

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Next Game

Wednesday, July 5, 2023, 7:39pm ET – MLS Regular Season Matchday 23 v. Charlotte FC | Citi Field Stadium; Queens, New York |  Radio: 

Santiago Rodriguez
Santiago Rodriguez (10) Photo: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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