New York City FC’s Alonso Martinez secures another win on a record-breaking night in the Bronx

Alonso Martinez | Credit Anthony Surrusco
Alonso Martinez | Credit Anthony Surrusco Credit: Alonso Martinez | Credit Anthony Surrusco

New York City FC returned to the Bronx Friday night to host the San Jose Earthquakes. The fixture is the first of two consecutive home matches for the team. The game took on a special meaning when the team announced that Maxi Moralez was part of the game-day squad. It was a must-win match for New York City to continue securing the top spots in the Eastern Conference.

A night to remember for New York City FC

The manager kept the winning lineup that defeated New England last week. The only switch made was Julian Fernandez, who came in for Mounsef Bakrar after he joined the Algerian national team for the upcoming FIFA international matches. In terms of the game, the first half didn’t have a lot of action. But it had a game-changing moment when Jovan Mijatovic missed a header with an open goal in the game’s first minute. But things happen for a reason. Maybe it was the chance needed to develop the rest of the script that night.

Maxi Morales returned with an assist | Credit: Anthony Surrusco
Maxi Morales returned with an assist | Credit: Anthony Surrusco

Santiago Rodriguez and Hannes Wolf picked up where they left off and continued to break the opposition’s defense with key passes to the attacking third. Unfortunately, both Julian Fernandez and Jovan displayed signs of inconsistency. Both players have been on and off from the starting lineup, so they were not on the same page when they had to read the plays coming from the midfield. Do they deserve more minutes? Of course, but do you touch the winning formula? Not if it has been giving you results. Ironically, the manager proved this point in the second half. But at the moment, the game was taking some gray tones. Leveled at the half, that missed chance by Jovan was coming back to haunt the team later in the game.

The second half needed a change in the team’s dynamic if they wanted a good result. The halftime talk served its purpose, and New York City came out as menacing as ever. A poor defensive clearance by San Jose allowed Julian Fernandez to get the ball back. Santiago Rodriguez got the ball from him and found the space to cross the ball and find a completely unmarked Hannes Wolf. The dynamic duo opened the score and continued contributing positive numbers for the team this season. However, San Jose answered back instantly with a quick counterattack. Amahl Pellegrino was able to get in between a struggling defensive line and managed to beat Matt Freece in their man-to-man duel. The manager then responded by making two substitutions following the equalizing goal.

New York City remains undefeated vs San Jose | Credit: Anthony Surrusco
New York City remains undefeated vs San Jose | Credit: Anthony Surrusco

Alonso Martinez and Malachi Jones both traded places with Fernandez and Mijatovic. This is where the manager proved the continuity issue for both players. It was a before-and-after for the team as soon as the substitutions were made. Malachi Jones took advantage of his speed again and was close to adding his goal for the night, but his shot missed the target. However, the moment of the night took place in the 74th minute.  Maxi Moralez returned to action after being sidelined for 8 months due to a knee injury. The “magician” would display why he is considered a club legend. His presence on the field gave the team energy and guided them to an unprecedented finish.

Alonso Martinez with the fastest hat trick in club history | Credit: Anthony Surrusco
Alonso Martinez with the fastest hat trick in club history | Credit: Anthony Surrusco

Maxi started the play, which resulted in New York City’s second goal. He nearly found Alonso Martinez with space to put the ball in the net, but a bad touch killed the opportunity. The follow-up by Andres Perea found Santiago Rodriguez with space to create a shot that allowed New York City to increase its advantage. What followed was a record-breaking performance by Alonso Matinez. First, in the 85th minute, he positioned himself perfectly inside the box to receive Maxi’s cross and score the match’s third goal. In a shocking turn of events, Alonso Martinez would go on to score two more times in the 92nd and 95th minutes. The striker completed a historic hat-trick and rounded off a near-perfect win for New York City FC.

The fixture between New York City and San Jose marked two milestones. The first one was achieved by Santiago Rodriguez who is now the second player with the most assists in the club’s history with a total of 27 assists in 100 games. Alonso Martinez left his mark after scoring the fastest hat-trick in the club’s history. It was a perfect night for New York City FC. It was the first time this season that they scored five goals. Maxi returned with an assist, and the club continued to secure the top spots in the Eastern Conference.

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