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Santi leads NYCFC to commanding win over FC Dallas

Rodríguez enjoyed his most productive match of the season playing in a relatively new position, and it helped New York City's attack click.

Big night for this guy at Citi Field. Photo:

New York City FC’s attack finally clicked into place as they earned a commanding 3-1 win over FC Dallas at Citi Field, with Santiago Rodríguez notching two goals in his first start as the team’s nominal striker

Rodríguez enjoyed his most productive match of the season playing in a relatively new position. It was not the first time Santi has been used as a center forward, but the win over Dallas was his first start as an out-and-out “False 9.” 

It was a tactical gamble from Nick Cushing to drop Gabe Segal, the more traditional striker who’d started three straight matches, in favor of a seemingly striker-free setup with Santi pushed furthest forward. Cushing’s gamble paid dividends, with all three NYCFC attacking players – Rodríguez, Talles Magno, and Gabriel Pereira – thriving in the new setup.

Pereira appeared to open the scoring in the 16th minute, but his emphatic left-footed finish was disallowed by VAR on an extremely tight offside decision. Dallas actually had the next best chance to open the scoring, but Luis Barraza came up with a great reaction save to deny Facundo Quignón from close range to keep things scoreless.

Rodríguez would eventually find the opener for NYCFC shortly before halftime, converting in the 44th minute after a miscue in possession by Dallas striker Jesús Jiménez handed him the ball in a dangerous area. Santi completed his brace with a cool finish in the 50th minute, tapping in a great ball delivered across Dallas’s six-yard box by Gabriel Pereira.

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