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NYCFC Thrash Earthquakes In The Bronx

New York City FC stretched their unbeaten run to five straight games in MLS thanks to an emphatic 5-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night. City were unable to find a breakthrough during the first 45 minutes but did break the deadlock early in the second half through Hannes Wolf. 

NYCFC forward Alonso Martinez
NYCFC forward Alonso Martinez (16) celebrates his second goal of the match during the second half against the San Jose Earthquakes at Yankee Stadium. Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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A warm summer evening in the Bronx was the setting for New York City FC’s latest fixture as they welcomed the San Jose Earthquakes to Yankee Stadium. 

City entered the clash in fine form – winning seven of their last eight games in MLS – and were eager to add to that in their final outing before a bye week. 

Head Coach Nick Cushing initially made two changes to the side that overcame the New England Revolution last time out, with Julián Fernández and Jovan Mijatović replacing Agustín Ojeda and Mounsef Bakrar. 

Cushing would make one further change after the warm-up as Strahinja Tanasijević replaced Thiago Martins. 

Elsewhere, there was a welcome return to the matchday squad for Maxi Moralez following the knee injury he sustained last year. 

First Half

With the team full of confidence, City started the games at breakneck speed and it saw them almost take the lead inside the first 90 seconds after a dinked ball by Fernández landed on Mijatović’s head, but he was unable to keep the effort on target. 

New York City’s relentless pressing early on showed no signs of letting up and was proving a challenge for San Jose as they tried to build out from the back. 

In the 21st minute, a well-timed interception from Hannes Wolf allowed him to regain the ball and play Kevin O’Toole in on goal, but the defender dragged his shot wide. A little after the half-hour mark, it was Santiago Rodríguez’s turn to test the San Jose defense with a shot from the edge of the box that zipped just over the crossbar. 

In first-half stoppage time, Hernán López tried to give the Earthquakes the lead with a shot from just outside the box, but it did not trouble Matt Freese in the City goal. 

Freese would be called into action minutes later, however, after Paul Marie played a one-two with Jeremy Ebobisse – his subsequent shot forcing the shot-stopper into a good save. 

New York City FC midfielder Maximiliano Moralez
New York City FC midfielder Maximiliano Moralez (27) takes a shot Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Second Half

San Jose carried that momentum into the start of the second period and came close to taking the lead via a short corner after the ball was quickly worked to López on the edge of the area and he attempted to curl it around Freese. Fortunately for City, his effort skipped outside the post. 

Despite that early pressure, it would be City that broke the deadlock in the 50th minute after brilliant work by Rodrîguez down the left. His slaloming run saw him skip by two San Jose defenders and then lay the ball back to Wolf – the Austrian producing a composed finish to put City ahead. 

Unfortunately, New York City’s lead would be short-lived after a quick counterattack from San Jose allowed Amahl Pellegrino to make a run in behind and finish past Freese. 

Cushing made what would prove to be two influential changes in the 59th minute as Malachi Jones and Alonso Martínez came on for Mijatović and Fernández. 

The two almost combined instantly to put City back in front after Jones danced along the byline and cut it back to Martínez, but the pass was intercepted at the last minute. 

At the other end, San Jose were proving a threat on the break and Niko Tsakiris almost gave his side the lead after creating an overload down City’s right-hand side, but instead saw his effort crash against the woodwork. 

The two sides were now exchanging shots at goal, and Jones would be the next man to test San Jose’s defense. The winger exchanged passes with Hannes Wolf and then zipped a low shot that just skipped by William Yarbrough’s near post. 

The 74th minute would see a welcome return to the pitch for Moralez. The diminutive playmaker entered the game to loud cheers alongside Andrés Perea, with the pair replacing Keaton Parks and Hannes Wolf. 

Moralez’s quality took little time to show itself as he danced by a San Jose defender before playing a line-breaking pass into Perea. Although the midfielder was able to get a shot away, his poked effort was wide of the target. 

Pressure was mounting on San Jose’s goal and City would retake the lead in the 85th minute as Rodríguez added his name to the scoresheet. 

The move began after a loose ball was claimed by Martínez inside the penalty area. The Costa Rican calmly laid it back to Rodríguez, who after taking a touch to get it out of his feet, unleashed a low drive past the goalkeeper.

It almost quickly became three after a delightful run down the left by Moralez took him inside the penalty area and allowed him to fire off a curled effort that only narrowly missed the target. 

City’s third goal would arrive in the 85th minute and it would confirm a memorable return for Moralez as he recorded his first assist of the campaign. The playmaker’s precise pass inside from the right found Martínez in space and he calmly finished past the goalkeeper. 

The Costa Rican was in the mood for more and he would finish the night with the match ball after a frenzied three minutes in injury time saw him claim two goals. 

The first of those two goals owed much to Martínez’s relentless pressing as he pounced on a loose pass to race through on goal and score. With a hat trick in sight, Martínez peeled to the back post where he was found with a low cross by Perea – the 25-year-old slamming the ball past Yarbrough. 

That would be City’s last goal of the evening as they ran out 5-1 winners over San Jose – the result proving to be their biggest winning margin of the season so far.  

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Next Game

New York City FC stays at home for another week, hosting fellow Eastern Conference team the Columbus Crew on Friday, June 14 at 7:30pm ET at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York. Broadcast: Apple TV | Radio:

NYCFC forward Malachi Jones
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