Comunicaciones, which eliminated the Colorado Rapids in the Round of 16, found a lifeline in the 60th minute when defender Manuel Gamboa bundled home an equalizer following a corner kick that the Cityzens failed to clear.
But hopes of a comeback were extinguished behind a two-goal flourish from NYCFC, starting with a stunning volley from midfield maestro Maxi Moralez in the 65th minute that restored a 2-1 lead. To cap the scoring, Rodriguez settled matters with a precise shot inside the near post in the 71st minute.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Ronny Deila's team made quick work of Costa Rica's Santos de Guápiles in the Round of 16, and they're in a strong position to reach the semifinal stage after Leg 1. Though Comunicaciones got a valuable road goal and proved threatening, making Leg 2 on March 15 in Guatemala City far from a sure thing. The series winner faces Seattle Sounders FC or Liga MX's Club Leon in the next stage as the region's best chase a FIFA Club World Cup spot.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: When NYCFC went up 2-1, the dinked pass from Taty Castellanos was pretty enough. Then Maxi Moralez's left-footed volley added an exclamation mark of the highest order.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Taty Castellanos opened the scoring and twice turned provider as NYCFC staved off second-half momentum from Comunicaciones. The 2021 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi winner is in fine form.
- NYC: Saturday, March 12 vs. CF Montréal | 1 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada) | MLS regular season
- COM: Saturday, March 12 at Nueva Concepción | 4 pm ET | Liga Nacional