NYCFC scores five against San Jose to win their fifth straight game

  • NYCFC and the San Jose Earthquakes met for the first time in MLS since 2022
  • The match marked the return of Maxi Moralez
  • The Pigeons won 5-1 thanks to a goal fest in the second half
NYCFC / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On a rare Friday evening, New York City FC welcomed the San Jose Earthquakes to Yankee Stadium.  After many cloudy and wet home games, it was finally a beautiful day for soccer.  One would have thought more people would have gone to the match, but it was still a decent crowd.

Entering the fixture, NYCFC was in third place in the Eastern Conference on a four-game winning streak after their recent win against the New England Revolution.  Their recent success is partially due to the team’s ability to grind out wins after ugly or okay performances.  They have also had some great performances, so the mix has resulted in a positive run.

Meanwhile, fans received great news before the fixture: Maxi Moralez is back!  The Argentine was finally healthy and available.  He was on the bench to start but made his first appearance when he came on in the 74th minute.  In addition, Raquinho’s caretaker, Jovan Mijatović, started up front and center, exciting many fans.

Despite losing Thiago Martins before the game, NYCFC opened the floodgates late in the second half.  They beat the Earthquakes 5-1, winning their fifth straight match.  The goal fest turned the Bronx into a football party.

NYCFC scores five to earn their fifth win in a row

Unexpectedly, it took some time for NYCFC and San Jose to get on the scoresheet.  Goals were scored though, and they all occurred during the second half.  Hannes Wolf put NYCFC on top first in the 50th minute thanks to a perfect pass assist from Santiago Rodríguez.  The midfielder picked out the winger while on the endline, and Wolf was in an ideal spot in the box.  With a swift kick, he put the Pigeons in front.

With little time to celebrate, the Earthquakes scored just a few minutes later.  The beat-up backline, who lost Martins before kickoff and Kevin O’Toole in the first half, was not lined up properly.  This gave Amahl Pellegrino plenty of space to work with.  Matt Freese made the mistake of coming off his line toward the forward, who capitalized on the empty goal opportunity.

It was Rodríguez who scored the winning goal in the 80th minute.  NYCFC enjoyed some possession near the box, and the midfielder received the ball.  With a few opposing players surrounding and standing in front of him, he picked out his spot to shoot.  He sent the ball between the San Jose players, and it went into the back of the net.

But NYCFC was not done!  Moralez, in his first game back, got an assist on the night.  He sent the ball to Alonso Martínez in the 85th minute to put the dagger in the coffin, or so everyone thought.  The Costa Rican scored again in stoppage time, not once, but twice, earning his first hat trick for the Pigeons.

His second goal was an easy one.  There was no defensive pressure in front of him after a giveaway, so he put the ball past William Yarbrough without any issue.  The third goal was scored with a few minutes to go which sealed the deal in a goal-filled second half.  Martínez received a great ball from a fellow substitute, Andrés Perea, who pushed the ball in front of the San Jose defenders.  Since the ball fell right in front of him, the forward tapped it into the back of the net.  His ten-minute hat trick was a spectacular way to end the evening. 

Mijatović did not have a goal, but his performance was quite impressive.  The Serbian often moved into the midfield to help his teammates move up the pitch.  His footwork was stellar, and he went around San Jose players with confidence.  His pass to Rodríguez around the 32nd minute allowed the midfielder to run towards the box and take a shot.  It was a good start for the Serbian, who was substituted off in the 58th minute.

Speaking about Rodríguez, he was brilliant on the night where he controlled the flow of the game for NYCFC and made fantastic passes.  His ability to maneuver through opposing players and pick out teammates was on full display.  Arguably, he was the Man of the Match.  He did struggle slightly with losing the ball at times, but his assist and goal made up for that.  The Uruguayan continued to illuminate his importance to NYCFC.

The goal-filled second half was a fun way to enter the international break.  NYCFC’s fifth straight win and five goals might be the determination to say that the Pigeons are back and they are not going away.