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Jasson, Bakrar heroes as NYCFC beat Montréal in the Bronx

NYCFC winger Andres Jasson scored his second MLS goal against CF Montréal
Here's my number, so call me maybe | Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC were due for a win. One win in the club’s previous eight matches left fans with little to look forward to as in-form CF Montréal made their way to the Bronx. And yet, NYCFC did not falter. The Boys in Blue took strides forward, and stunned the visiting Canadians in the Bronx, winning 2-0. 

A pair of stunning goals from Andres Jasson and Mounsef Bakrar were enough to ensure that NYCFC took home all three points in front of a tamer-than-usual crowd at the Yankee Soccer Stadium. 

New NYCFC defense shows promise in win over Montréal

Game Stats

NYCFC: 2 goals, 13 shots, 5 on target, 514 passes, 82.9% pass accuracy, 9 fouls

CF Montreal: 13 shots, 3 on target, 438 passes, 79% pass accuracy, 10 fouls


Goals lead to confidence

CF Montréal began the match with better chances, as Kwadwo Opoku challenged the NYCFC defense countless times. The Ghanian’s impressive movement even managed to force a corner, which produced Montréal’s best chance of the night, as Lassi Lappalainen hit the crossbar following a well-worked routine. Despite the pressure, the new-look NYCFC defense held firm, with the young group highlighted by Risa and Cufré putting in an impressive shift, in spite of the departure of captain and center-back Maxime Chanot.

Ultimately, it was all NYCFC once Jasson got on the score sheet. The Greenwich, CT native recorded his second goal of the season in style, curling in a left-footed strike into the top left corner from inside the box. He sent the Yankee Soccer Stadium crowd into ecstasy, and for good reason, as it was the first goal in three matches for NYCFC. 

From then on, NYCFC continued to control the flow of the match. Despite a noticeable drop-off in attacking intensity in the second half from Nick Cushing’s men, the two-goal cushion was more than enough to ensure three very crucial points in the hunt for an MLS Cup Playoff spot. 

It’s safe to say that both Jasson and Bakrar needed the goals they scored today more than some might think. Jasson’s 30th-minute strike was just the second of his season so far, the same going for Bakrar. For players, particularly Bakrar, the failure to feature regularly on the score sheet can be exceptionally frustrating, and can lead to a continued dip in form. The mental fortitude of this NYCFC side has been questionable at times this season, so two players breaking a goal drought only spells good things. 

Jasson’s 30th-minute strike came off the back of a great through ball from Braian Cufré. Receiving the ball at his feet, Jasson dribbles into the box, before cutting over to his left foot and releasing an off-balance strike, curling into the top left corner. If any readers remember Federico Macheda’s debut goal for Manchester United, similarities can be made.

Jasson’s was a brilliant goal, one which seemed to stun almost everyone in attendance. 

Not long after Jasson broke the deadlock, Bakrar got in on the action. After receiving an impeccable long ball from Birk Risa, the Algerian controls the initial ball, before rounding his defender and slotting a side-footed strike beyond the keeper.

It’s 2-0 NYC, and fans didn’t know what to do with themselves.

Bakrar, who scored only once in five matches heading into Wednesday’s contest, fully deserved his debut MLS goal. The buildup started in the NYCFC recruiting office: Risa, who was added to the team for his defensive acumen and passing ability, connected with Bakrar, a natural goal scorer who excels at getting in behind defenses.

Moments like this one were exactly what sporting director David Lee had in mind when he signed the two players.

NYCFC 2 – 0 CF Montréal: Rate the Players

Proving that age is just a number

Upon his return to the club following a brief hiatus in Argentina, I believed that Maxi Moralez was going to serve as a platoon player off the bench in order to provide a spark in the second half of games. Despite his immense MLS pedigree and experience, his age and NYCFC’s depth in midfield made it difficult to see him making the Starting XI.

Evidently, this is not the case. 

Since reappearing to the Big Apple, Maxi has made three straight starts, slotting into any of the three positions of Cushing’s 4-2-3-1 attacking midfield trio. In these three starts, he made his presence known, providing a spark in the midfield that fans haven’t seen from any other player all season. 

In his first match back at Yankee Stadium, Moralez was greeted with a shower of applause and cheers from the endearing NYCFC fans, and he repaid them with another vintage performance. In his 66-minute cameo, the Argentine created two key chances, as well as boasted an 88% pass accuracy. Moralez should’ve been featured on the score sheet as well, after turning in a Cufré cross with an impressive finish. Alas, he was deemed to be offside by the assistant referee, with the call being upheld by VAR. 

Regardless, Moralez has proven once again that age is just a number, and that class is truly permanent. Inter Miami may have Lionel Messi, but NYCFC have their own 36-year-old Argentine who can pull the strings better than most. 

NYCFC playoff tracker

Ready for the fight ahead

During the post-game press conference, Cushing provided one of the most candid and emotional responses he’s given all season. When asked about Talles Magno’s role with the team, considering the Brazilian has seen his minutes drop dramatically as of late, Cushing took the opportunity to set the story straight:

Cushing, who spent 17 years as a part of the City Football Group, implored that every single member of the NYCFC squad is “all in.” Regardless of whether the player is consistently featured in the Starting XI or is ever present on the bench, Cushing was adamant that every player is 100% bought into the mission and each other. 

As he continued, Cushing expressed his immense love for the club and his desire to help it succeed, exclaiming “I will fight with every ounce of my being to make sure that this team makes the playoffs.”

This energy and passion have been absent for the majority of the season, leaving fans frustrated week after week. With seven games to go, a fire seems to have been lit under the players and staff of NYCFC. Wednesday night’s contest was an example of how NYCFC can play when all the gears turn in unison. 

On their day, NYCFC is a force to be reckoned with, and, will work to build off this momentum and prove that point to the rest of the league. For now, though, the vibes are back in the Boogie Down Bronx, and fans should relish in them while they last since there’s no telling how long they’ll stay. 

NYCFC vs CF Montréal video highlights

NYCFC Playoff Tracker

Goals:

  • NYCFC: Andres Jasson 30′
  • NYCFC: Mounsef Bakrar 37′

Discipline:

  • CF Montreal: Joel Waterman, yellow card, 45′, hard foul
  • NYCFC: Andres Perea, yellow card, 58′, hard foul

Attendance: 15,273

Officials:

  • Referee: Fotis Bazakos
  • Assistant Referees: Peter Balciunas, Matthew Nelson
  • Fourth official: Adam Kilpatrick
  • VAR: Ismir Pekmic
  • Ast. VAR: Thomas Supple

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