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Ojeda, Fernández lift NYCFC to win over New England

The two Argentine wingers provided the goals, while Matt Freese and the New York City defense excelled en route to a first clean sheet of the season.

Julián Fernández was the definition of an impact sub. Photo © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports.

New York City FC welcomed the New England Revolution to Yankee Soccer Stadium for a cold Saturday night showdown featuring two of the lowest-scoring teams in the MLS.

Despite NYCFC's recent struggles in front of goal, they cruised to a 2-0 win in a game where the offense lined up a little bit differently but still got the job done.

Agustín Ojeda, the 19-year-old Argentine winger, started his first-ever game for New York City and instantly made an impact, scoring the game-winner early in the second half.

Julián Fernández, who came on as a substitute, scored a beautifully curled shot in stoppage time to get his first goal of the season and seal the home win. The defense and Matt Freese locked it down en route to NYCFC's first clean sheet of the season.

Game Stats

New York City: 18 shots, 6 shots on target, 51.8% possession, 446 passes, 79.6% pass accuracy, 18 fouls, 5 saves

New England: 8 shots, 5 shots on target, 48.2% possession, 432 passes, 76.7% pass accuracy, 13 fouls, 4 saves

• New York City, Agustín Ojeda, 57'
• New York City, Julián Fernández, 90+3'

Attendance: 20,744

Agustín Ojeda = success

Ojeda may only be a 19-year-old, but he made a statement to Nick Cushing with his second-half strike. Alonso Martínez seemed to have earned the role as a starting winger after his goal against Inter Miami CF, but that was rethought when Cushing handed Ojeda his first start for New York City.

Ojeda did not let anyone down, blasting a loose ball that fell to his feet into the top right corner of the net. The winger did have some moments where he turned the ball over or failed to make the right pass, but that could be due to his young age.

It is unclear whether we will see Ojeda start against DC United, but expect him to get more minutes. In an NYCFC attack that has lacked goalscorers, Ojeda playing more can lead to growth and development.

g+ GameFlow

Defense, Matt Freese excel

The New York City backline has looked the same for the majority of the season, minus Mitja Ilenič and Tayvon Gray switching in and out at right-back. This time, Ilenič got the start and was very proud of his defensive performance. After the game, Ilenič mentioned how he was aware of his struggles defending last season and how he was working on improving that every week.

Birk Risa and Thiago Martins played alongside each other and combined for 10 clearances and seven recoveries. Risa mentioned how he and Thiago Martins have a good relationship and demand a lot from each other.

Time and time again, Freese has made amazing saves to keep NYCFC in games. This game was no different, as Freese made crucial saves down the final stretch to help New York City earn their second win in 2024.

One of his biggest stops came in the 79th minute, as Ryan Spaulding's shot took a wicked deflection that could've rolled it into the back of the net. Freese has been one of NYCFC's most consistent players this season, especially after his six-save performance to earn the clean sheet against New England.

Bakrar's scoring struggles continue

One of the only negative takeaways from the game is that Mounsef Bakrar remains goalless. Bakrar found himself in the right positions and did well creating plays and pressing, but he was unable to find the back of the net for the seventh time this season.

Cushing fully believes in Bakrar, stating that he is going through the process of a striker and that he will score goals. Cushing credited Bakrar's work rate and determination and said it's on him for every game Bakrar doesn't score.

The question remains the same, though: when will Bakrar score? If the struggles continue, does he drop to the bench? With Jovan Mijatović still out, Bakrar is currently the only true No 9 for New York City, meaning he will likely continue to start.

• New England, Tomás Chancalay, yellow card, foul 22'
• New England, Ian Harkes, yellow card, foul 43'
• NYCFC, Matt Freese, yellow card, 45+6
• NYCFC, Keaton Parks, yellow card, 78'

• Referee: Pierre-Luc Lauziere
• Assistant referees: Cory Richardson, Brian Dunn
• Fourth official: Luis Arroyo
• VAR: Carol Anne Chenard
• Assistant VAR: Kelsey Harms