Bronx, NY — On a wet and snowy day, NYCFC unveiled their MLS Cup 2021 champions banner, along with an orange ball at Yankee Stadium Saturday afternoon. Also, they manage to breeze past CF Montreal a 4-1 lead by Alex Callens.
It was an impressive victory for the reigning MLS Champions because neither Maxi Moralez nor Taty Castellanos scored in the match.
Talles Magno made his mark early in the game, picking up an assist on Callens’ opening volley. The 19-year-old Brazilian got his first goal at Yankee Stadium with a header which came in the seventh minute of the game. Thiago Andrade and Santiago Rodriguez also scored in their home opener.
Rodriguez’s goal proved to be the game-winning goal in the 20th minute for NYCFC (1-1-1; 4 points).
“It’s very important that there are many players that can score goals coming from the midfield and also set plays with central defenders,” head coach Ronny Deila said afterward. “Thiago scored, Talles scored, Santi scored. That’s giving confidence to everybody and it makes us more dangerous when we can hurt them in many different areas.”
Magno mentioned that only scoring once last regular season bothered him, making Saturday’s breakout very special. He joined last year from Vasco da Gama for $8 million up front, it was one of the most expensive deals in MLS history.
“I think I just put a lot of pressure on myself more than others on me; sometimes that helps and sometimes that hurts,” Magno said. “It’s hard to score goals and to make assists, but as long as I put in the work and I stay dedicated to my craft, the goals and assists will come. I just keep giving myself more and more confidence as the season progresses.”
A Montréal turnover from Victor Wanyama added a second goal in the 20th minute. The ball fell to Rodriguez, who lobbed it over goalie Sebastian Breza from atop of the box and into the net.
Montréal trimmed the NYCFC’s lead to a goal in the 52nd minute with two players who came off the bench at the break. Djordje Mihailovic made found Zachary Brault-Guillard in the box and he smashed it for his third career MLS goal.
Magno added a third goal for NYCFC in the 64th minute when he leaped over several Montréal defenders to head Andres Jasson’s cross past Breza. Finally, Andrade intercepted Joel Waterman’s pass and score, it was NYCFC’s fourth goal of the afternoon in the 83rd minute.
“I expect goals from Talles, Thiago and Santi. They are good finishers and they are able as well. It’ll come more and more,” Deila said. “It’s a very good strength for the team that we have that we can score from different positions. We scored four today without Tati and Maxi scoring, and we know what those two can do so that’s a strength for the team.”
NYCFC outshot Montreal 13-9, with a 9-1 edge in shots on goal.
Sebastian Breza made five saves for Montreal.
- 7′ — NYC — Alexander Callens
- 20′ — NYC — Santiago Rodriguez
- 52′ — MTL — Zachary Brault-Guillard
- 64′ — NYC — Talles Magno
- 83′ — NYC — Thiago Andrade
- NYC: Tuesday, March 15 at Comunicaciones | 8 pm ET (FS1 in US, OneSoccer in Canada) | Concacaf Champions League
- MTL: Wednesday, March 16 vs. Cruz Azul | 8 pm ET (FS2 in US, OneSoccer in Canada) | Concacaf Champions League