Charlotte’s undefeated run ends in the Bronx after New York City FC Win

Kevin O’Toole running down the wing | Credit: Melinda Morales, New York City FC
Kevin O’Toole running down the wing | Credit: Melinda Morales

Results have been going strong for New York City FC. It wasn’t long ago when the team seemed to be on the verge of disaster before the home game stretch. But at the moment, the team is already in playoff spots, and the scoring issues are slowly fading away. The game against Charlotte FC gave the team another chance to see if there was more room for improvement.

Let’s remember that the previous meeting at the beginning of the season didn’t go as planned for New York City. The visitors knew they arrived with an undefeated record in New York, so it was a tricky match nonetheless. 

New York City FC Moving Forward 

It was a matter of time before the back-to-back games started taking a toll on the team. Speaking to Santiago Rodriguez he had mentioned fatigue by the late stages of the second half. The team might have depth, but the momentum is with Rodriguez, so giving him a rest is yet to be an option.

Santiago Rodriguez with another top performance | Credit: Melinda Morales
Santiago Rodriguez with another top performance | Credit: Melinda Morales

The visitors might have monitored this situation to an extent since they only took 3 minutes to open the scoreboard. Striker Kerwin Vargas was quick to react after a rebounded cross left him with an open goal. You can call it the perfect start, especially because an early advantage gives them control of the game. It was practically a one-team half as Charlotte enforced a high press and didn’t allow New York City to settle on the field throughout much of the first half.

Keaton Parks became the hero for New York City in the 41st minute. The set-piece goal came from a free kick to level the score right before halftime. Had he not scored that goal the result would have been different. However, I have to emphasize that despite the struggles, the team remained dangerous on the wings. Both Kevin O’Toole and Agustin Ojeda were able to provide an escape route to Charlotte’s high press. It was something to consider ahead of the start of the second half.

Mounsef Bakrar continued on a mission to break the scoring deadlock. The support for the striker pushes him to keep putting up a good fight. He came close to ending the streak in the 54th minute. Santiago Rodriguez created a near-perfect pass between the lines to leave Bakrar head-to-head with the goalkeeper. Unfortunately, he received the pass a step too early and was caught offside.

Mounsef Bakrar with two close chances against Charlotte | credit: Melinda Morales
Mounsef Bakrar with two close chances against Charlotte | credit: Melinda Morales

The striker had another opportunity, but unfortunately, his shot hit the post. “Usually when it hits the post like that, it bounces into the back of the net, but not this time”, said Bakrar in the post-match interview. Another highlight of the second half was seeing Andres Perea finally get some minutes. The midfielder hasn’t participated with the team as much as last season.

But as luck will have it, the game-winning goal came from the bench again. Alonso Martinez was at the right place, at the right time to tap in the cross by Santiago Rodriguez.

The goal was crucial for New York City FC since it allowed them to climb close to the top half of the conference. The win also ends Charlotte’s unbeaten run against New York City FC. The team now focuses on the upcoming match against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday at Citi Field. In the end, the team got some sort of payback for the defeat against them at the start of the season 

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