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NYCFC Beat Charlotte With Late Strike In The Bronx

NYCFC recorded a dramatic 2-1 win against Charlotte FC. The visitors took the lead in the third minute through Kerwin Vargas. City equalized in the 41st minute through a Keaton Parks header. City continued to push for the winning goal and they were rewarded in injury time after Alonso Martínez converted from close range. That strike would be enough to confirm City’s first win over Charlotte in MLS. 

NYCFC forward Monsef Bakrar
NYCFC forward Monsef Bakrar (9) Photo: Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports

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A fourth successive home game saw New York City FC welcome Charlotte FC to Yankee Stadium on Saturday night. 


City entered the contest looking to extend their unbeaten in MLS to five games, while their counterparts were eager to bounce back from a 3-0 defeat against Minnesota United last time out. 


Head Coach Nick Cushing introduced one change to the team that overcame D.C. United as Julián Fernández entered the starting XI following goals in back-to-back games. 

First Half

The visitors would take a shock lead in the third minute after a cross was cleared into the path of Kerwin Vargas and he slammed the ball home. 

Charlotte were proving to be a threat on the counter attack early on and that saw Liel Abada given the chance to double their advantage in the eighth minute – Matt Freese standing tall to deny the winger. 

Despite City dominating possession unable to test Kristijan Kahlina in the Charlotte goal.  That changed in the 32nd minute after Santi Rodríguez’s freekick from 25 yards out forced the goalkeeper into an impressive one-handed save. 

City continued to ramp up the pressure and a dazzling run through the middle by Fernández saw him glide between two Charlotte players before firing off a shot that was well blocked by the goalkeeper. 

Despite a string of good saves there was nothing Kalhina could do to stop Keaton Parks drawing City level in the 41st minute.  A freekick delivered by Fernández found Parks free inside the area and he powered a header into the net for his first of the season. 

Charlotte FC midfielder Brecht Dejaegere against nycfc
Charlotte FC midfielder Brecht Dejaegere (10) against New York City FC forward Kevin O'Toole (22) and defender Birk Risa (5) during the second half at Yankee Stadium. Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Second Half

The second period brought about no changes for either side with both teams desperate to claim the next goal of the game. 

Charlotte thought they had snatched back the advantage through Jere Uronen on the hour mark, but the defender was denied by an offside flag. 

City would make their first change of the evening minutes later as Hannes Wolf entered the game in place of Fernández. He would be joined on the field by Malachi Jones in the 70th minute as he replaced Ojeda.  Cushing was eager to see his side continue their winning run and Rodríguez came close to giving them the lead after his drive from distance forced Kalahina into a good save. 

The breakthrough was proving elusive, however, and Cushing sought to introduce further changes. Off came Parks and Bakrar in place of Andrés Perea and Alonso Martínez. 

Martínez would prove to be an inspired change with the Costa Rican securing the decisive third goal midway through stoppage time. The move owed much to brilliant work from Rodríguez down the right, and after he dug out a cross, there waiting in the box was Martínez to prod the ball home. 

City were forced into a final late substitution after Thiago Martins suffered an unfortunate head injury – Strahinja Tanasijević subbing in for his injured colleague.  That would prove to be the final notable act of the contest and confirmed a first win against Charlotte for New York City FC as they extended their unbeaten run to five games. 

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Next Game

New York City FC wraps up its homestand against Western Conference side Colorado Rapids on Sunday, May 5 at 4:00 pm ET at Citi Field in Queens, New York. Broadcast: Apple TV | Radio:   

Keaton Parks (55) celebrates his goal for nycfc
Keaton Parks (55) celebrates his goal Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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