Skip to content

Martínez bags brace as New York City dispatch Montréal

New York City FC secured a second win in a row, beating a sloppy CF Montréal 2-0 thanks to another strong showing from Alonso Martínez.

All smiles at Citi Field. Photo © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Building off an impressive win at home vs Orlando City, New York City FC secured its second win in a row, dispatching a sloppy CF Montréal side 2-0 in Queens. Despite lacking a true finishing touch of their own for most of the evening, the Boys in Blue managed to grab all three points, thanks in part to another strong showing from a certain Costa Rican.

New York City FC dominated from the opening kickoff, bringing the game to the CF Montréal backline early. That pressure proved to bear fruit, as the hosts broke the deadlock courtesy of a tidy finish from Alonso Martínez. After a brief VAR review, which saw referee Marcos de Oliveira consult the video board to judge a possible offside, the Costa Rican's 7th goal of the campaign was confirmed.

Before long, however, the game took a turn, as New York City FC took its foot off the gas. As disjointed as CF Montreal was, the Canadian outfit managed to pin the Boys in Blue back into their defensive third for a considerable period during the first half, a trend that usually doesn't occur until the 2nd half for Nick Cushing's side.

Despite this, NYCFC made great use of the counter-attack to create chances, but each move seemingly fell apart at the final moment, with a misplaced pass or loss of touch dissolving the chance completely. This continued throughout both halves, before Martinez bagged his second of the match in the 56th minute, firing a first-time shot past Montréal's Jonathan Sirois, after a lovely chipped ball in from Hannes Wolf.

Once 2-0 up, the Boys in Blue cruised to victory, but it's safe to say that this wasn't the host's best performance. The three points are all that matter, but this could have easily been a four, five, or even six-goal win for New York City FC.


New York City: 16 shots, 7 shots on target, 48.1% possession, 486 passes, 85% pass accuracy, 10 fouls, 4 saves

Montréal: 12 shots, 4 shots on target, 51.9% possession, 516 passes, 85% pass accuracy, 13 fouls, 5 saves

• New York City, Alonso Martínez, 9'
• New York City, Alonso Martínez, 56'

Attendance: 18,209

The unlikely emergence continues

Alonso Martínez has emerged as New York City FC's new talisman in recent weeks, and it's come at a perfect time. The Costa Rican has scored eight goals this season, which is tied for first in the squad, alongside Santi Rodríguez. With the question surrounding NYCFC's No. 9 remaining pertinent all season long, we may finally have an answer as to who will officially take the reins going forward.

Martínez's rise to the top of the NYCFC striker pecking order has been meteoric to say the least. Heading towards the end of May, Martínez had three goals on the season and was featured prominently as one of Cushing's main impact players off the bench. Then he scored a 10-minute hat trick off the bench vs San Jose on May 31st. The following three matches saw him remain an option off the bench, with NYCFC losing all three games, and scoring just twice.

El Clínico: Alonso Martínez is the striker NYCFC need
The Costa Rican forward has turned into a ruthless, efficient finisher and has grabbed control of the New York City FC striker spot on the back of a team-leading eight goals.

Then, upon returning to the Big Apple, Martínez got the nod to start vs Orlando City, where he grabbed an assist. Fast forward to today, and the Costa Rican has started his second match in a row, grabbing his second and third goal contributions in two matches. For a squad that has struggled to find consistency in front of goal, the emergence of a clinical finisher in Martinez comes as an overwhelming relief for the Boys in Blue, as they remain in serious contention for the MLS Cup Playoffs.

While Martínez's opening strike was impressive, a strong finish into the top right corner on the run, his second was a thing of pure beauty. The little dink from Wolf was textbook, but the finish from Martínez was sublime. First-time strike, on the volley, with bodies around him. It takes serious stopping to keep out a shot like that, especially one off the boot of someone as in form as Alonso Martinez.

As the MLS All-Star Break draws closer, and the Boys in Blue look set to embark on a four-game road trip, having an in-form striker like Martínez could do wonders for a squad that has struggled greatly away from home (only 3-1-5 on the season). We all know Cushing loves to fiddle with his starting lineups, but the list of reasons why Martínez shouldn't be the starting No. 9 moving forward has been ripped to pieces.

g+ GameFlow chart via American Soccer Analysis on Mastodon.

Injury concerns continue to grow

During his post-match press conference, New York City FC head coach Nick Cushing said "We may have lost one or two players to injury." With those players being midfielder Maxi Moralez and center-back Birk Risa, the injury concerns continue to grow for the Boys in Blue.

Having lost winger Malachi Jones for likely the rest of the season with a broken fibula and tibia, Cushing will be putting much more pressure on the depth of his squad, and calling on more role players to step up when needed.

At around the 27th minute, Moralez was subbed off and replaced with Agustin Ojeda. It was unclear was caused the injury, but Cushing stated that the Argentine felt some discomfort in his leg, and asked to be subbed out. Moralez confirmed this to the media following the match.

While the diminutive Argentine, fresh off a recovery from a torn ACL back in 2023, may be okay in the short term, concerns have been raised over the fitness of Norwegian center-back Birk Risa, who sustained a rolled ankle and was subbed off at halftime. Cushing claims that Risa's ankle was "pretty swollen", but will be awaiting a report from the medical team. Losing Risa would be a blow for NYCFC, as the 26-year-old has started 20 of a possible 21 matches this season, lining up alongside MLS All-Star selection and captain Thiago Martins.

To combat this injury dilemma, Cushing will be looking to his bench to provide some coverage for several key players in the starting xi. Players like Kevin O'Toole, who featured in 20 matches this season and started 19, will more than likely get a rest over during the upcoming away trip, with homegrown defender Christian MacFarlane slated to fill in. For someone who tends to rotate his lineups each match, now is the time for Cushing to do what he does best to keep his stars as healthy as possible, ahead of a probable MLS Cup Playoff berth.

The long road ahead

After two momentum-building wins at home, New York City FC are set to embark on a four-game away run, which will see them travel all across the country. With stops in Austin, Chicago, Atlanta, and Orlando, Cushing's side will hope to take advantage of the dismal situations of some of their opponents, and pick up some much-needed points to close the gap on Inter Miami and FC Cincinnati in the Eastern Conference.

At the time of writing, NYCFC sit 4th in the MLS Eastern Conference on 35 points, 10 points behind second-place FC Cincinnati (45 pts) and 12 points behind Inter Miami (47 pts). Though the Boys in Blue have only picked up 10 points away from home all season, the caliber of teams the squad is set to face should leave fans with at least a shred of optimism.

Having scored six goals in two games, and only conceding two, this New York City FC side will feel confident that they can get the job done with authority. So long as Martínez and Santi stay firing, Freese keeps standing on his head to make saves, and the role players step in when needed, NYCFC should return home for the Leagues' Cup at the end of July with points, confidence, and momentum.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a foundation on which MLS Cup Champions build.

• CF Montréal, George Campbell, yellow card, foul 52′
• NYCFC, James Sands, yellow card, foul 90'+3

• Referee: Marcos de Oliveira
• Assistant referees: Chantal Boudreau, Tyler Wyrostek
• Fourth official: Chris Penso
• VAR: Fotis Bazakos