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Leaving it Late: When do NYCFC score their goals?

New York City FC have 26 goals in 19 games this season — and 10 of those goals were scored after the 75th minute.

Alonso Martínez has scored four of his six goals in the final 10 minutes of play | Courtesy of

Last season, New York City FC scored a club-low 35 goals and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The reasons for that were many, among them that the team lacked a clear-cut striker with the departure of Taty Castellanos and could not take advantage of the chances they created.

NYCFC's attack improved at the end of last year with the signings of Mounsef Bakrar, Julián Fernández, and Alonso Martínez. It's even better this season with the additions of Malachi Jones, Agustín Ojeda, and Hannes Wolf. This year, New York City scored 26 goals in 19 matches, leading to nine wins. Eight of these wins saw NYCFC score in the final 45 minutes: When it comes to goals, New York City are a second-half team that score late in 89% of their victories.

Whether NYCFC score in the first or second half, they tend to leave it late. Six of the team's 12 first-half goals this season were scored after the 30th minute. Out of the team's 14 second-half goals, 10 were scored after the 75th minute.

2024 New York City FC Goals by Time Block

Time Block Goals %
0'-15' 3 12%
15'-30' 3 12%
30'-45' 5 19%
Stoppage 1 4%
45'-60' 2 8%
60'-75' 2 8%
75'-90' 5 19%
Stoppage 5 19%

In other words, when you watch NYCFC, you want to stay to the end.

Fewer first-half goals

New York City's 12 first-half goals rank them 15th out of the 29 teams in Major League Soccer. Real Salt Lake, the league leader in first-half goals, scored 20 in 20 games, an average of one per game.

2024 MLS First-Half Goals Scored by Club

Club First-Half Goals Games
Real Salt Lake 20 20
Inter Miami 17 20
LAFC 17 19
Colorado 16 20
CF Montréal 15 19
DC United 15 20
Portland 15 20
Minnesota 14 19
San Jose 14 19
Sporting KC 14 20
LA Galaxy 13 20
Nashville 13 19
Red Bulls 13 20
New York City 12 19
Toronto 12 20
Vancouver 12 18
Houston 11 19
Orlando 11 19
Seattle 11 20
Dallas 10 19
New England 10 17

While most of New York City's first-half goals are scored late, they occasionally score very early, as three of their goals came before the 10th minute. Two of these quick goals came in back-to-back games, as Martínez scored in the second minute against Philadelphia Union on May 15, and Wolf scored after three minutes against New York Red Bulls on May 18.

Scoring first is a key to New York City's success: Seven of the team's nine wins were in games when they scored first. NYCFC failed to win after scoring first only three times: In the home-opening defeat to Portland Timbers on March 9, in the 1-1 tie with Atlanta United at Citi Field on April 6, and in the 2-3 home loss to Columbus Crew on June 14. Overall, NYCFC has scored the opening goal in 53% of their total matches and picked up 22 of their 29 points when scoring first.

But New York City isn't particularly dominant going into the halftime break. Out of their 19 games, NYCFC finished the first 45 minutes in the lead six times, trailing five times, and level eight times. A first-half lead also doesn't guarantee a winning result: In the six games they led at halftime, New York City won just three.

More second-half goals

New York City has a knack for scoring in the second half, especially in the final 15 minutes plus stoppage time. NYCFC scored 14 goals in the final 45 minutes of the game, ranking them 24th out of 29 MLS teams.

The numbers are somewhat contradictory: While New York City score more often in the second half, they score fewer second-half goals than most of the other teams in the league.

2024 MLS Second-Half Goals Scored by Club

Club Second-Half Goals Games
Inter Miami 29 20
FC Cincinnati 25 19
LA Galaxy 25 20
Philadelphia 23 19
Colorado 22 20
LAFC 21 19
Red Bulls 21 20
Portland 21 20
Columbus Crew 20 17
Real Salt Lake 20 20
Atlanta United 19 19
FC Dallas 17 19
Minnesota 17 19
Sporting KC 17 20
Chicago 16 19
Seattle 16 20
Toronto 16 20
Austin 15 20
Charlotte FC 15 20
Houston 15 19
San Jose 15 19
St. Louis 15 19
New York City 14 19
Vancouver 14 18
Orlando City 12 19
CF Montréal 11 19
DC United 11 20
Nashville SC 10 19

Fully 10 of New York City's 14 second-half goals were scored after the 75th minute.

New York City only scored one goal shortly after the start of the second half and just five goals between the 51st and 80th minute. NYCFC has scored many late goals, starting with Julián Fernández scoring stoppage-time goals in back-to-back games in April against New England and DC United, respectively.

Keaton Parks headed home an 81st-minute winner against New England, and Martínez scored a 90+3' goal to give New York City their first-ever win against Charlotte FC.

The most memorable match that showcased The NYCFC Late Show was the 5-1 win over San Jose. Santiago Rodríguez scored the go-ahead goal in the 80th minute, followed by a hat trick from Martínez in the final 11 minutes of the match.

Late goals from subs

New York City often relies on their substitutes to make a difference in the match. Six of NYCFC's 10 goals after the 75th minute were scored by Martínez and Fernández when they came off the bench.

To look at it another way, just two of Martínez's six goals this season were scored when he started, and four when he was a substitute. Fernández has yet to score as a starter. Both of his goals are from games in which he came off the bench, and both were in stoppage time.

But those numbers can be misleading. While more than 20% of New York City's goals were scored late by subs, 50% of those were in one game, when Martínez's late hat trick padded the 5-1 win over San Jose Earthquakes.

Only one of New York City's nine wins came from a goal by a sub, when Martínez scored in the 90+3' against Charlotte FC in a game that finished 2-1. New York City might score late, but their wins are locked up earlier in the game.

But New York City have left wins on the field. The team have just two draws, and eight losses. Out of those eight losses, five were by one goal, and the remaining three by two goals. This New York City don't get blown out, and are always within reach of a result: A goal here and a goal there is the difference between NYCFC sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 29 points after 19 games, and climbing the table into third or fourth place.

It might sound obvious, but New York City will need to find a way to score if they are to snap their three-game losing streak. The team were held scoreless by LA Galaxy and Nashville SC.

Later today, they play an Orlando City that allowed 31 goals in 19 games (that's the fifth-most in the Eastern Conference), and that will be missing starting goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to international duty. Orlando allowed nine goals in their last 10 games, and last logged a clean sheet on May 18. Tonight's matchup at Yankee Stadium could provide New York City with the opportunity to score more goals in all phases of the game.