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Going Into the International Break, NYCFC is Rolling

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May 31, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York City FC forward Alonso Martinez (16) celebrates his third goal of the match against the San Jose Earthquakes with midfielder Andres Perea (8) during the second half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, who had NYCFC in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference going into the International Break on their bingo card? Chances are, not many, and probably NO ONE after week 3. Yet here we are, seeing the team with just 9 wins last year sitting comfortably towards the top of the East, with an impressive 29 points in it’s previous 13 matches and (per a 98% chance of making the playoffs this year.

So far, so definitely good.

Talk to the players, and the break is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand a couple well earned days off is welcome, however in conversations with Goalkeeper Matt Freese and Defender James Sands, they’d rather keep the momentum going.

Among the several high points comes the emergence of Forward Alonso Martinez. In just 10 games this season, the 25 year old already has 6 goals, capped by a brilliant Hat Trick in just 32 minutes of playing time in a 5-1 win over visiting San Jose.

In fact, with both Martinez and Santi Rodriguez at 6 goals this season they match the team high in goals from last season held by Gabriel Pereira. Additionally, with the team’s 5 goal outburst the team is tied for 5th in MLS in goal differential at 7.

However, despite the good times for the club this season, NYCFC cannot rest easy. At this point the playoffs are expected, not a hope, and falling backwards will not be taken well by the fanbase. Of the 18 games remaining on the season, 10 are on the road, including a west coast trip to play thr LA Galaxy on June 19th, followed immediately by a match in Nashville on the 22nd. It’s confirmed that the team understandably will not be coming back to the East Coast, but rather making a longer road trip out of the pair of matches. But those back to back matches will be an absolute test for the young club.

In the end, there’s plenty of upside for the team right now, IF they don’t get overconfident. Head Coach Nick Cushing has turned most if not all haters into his corner with the run that he had been preaching since the start of last season and has given the fans, players and front office excitement going into the second half of the season. The question is now: How far can they go?

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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