Behind a Jesus Medina brace and five set-piece goals, New York City FC rolled past FC Cincinnati 5-0 in a Saturday afternoon home opener to record their first win of the 2021 MLS season.

The scoring outburst began in the 7th minute through Medina, who punched home a third-chance effort after left back Gudmundur Thorarinsson swung in a free kick from the left. Medina was left unmarked, giving NYCFC a 1-0 lead.

NYCFC doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute, with Medina whipping in a looping corner kick that Maxime Chanot challenged at the back post. Instead FC Cincinnati center back Nick Hagglund redirected a header into his own goal, resulting in a 2-0 lead for the Cityzens.

Thorarinsson joined the fun by the 57th minute, bending home a left-footed free kick from 25 yards out for the 3-0 lead. He went outside the wall and tucked his shot inside the post, evading Cincy goalkeeper Cody Cropper.

The onslaught reached 4-0 in the 67th minute, as a corner kick bounced to Valentin Castellanos at the back post. Completely unmarked, NYCFC’s striker volleyed a wayward shot that deflected off Hagglund and in.

Medina then tallied his second in the 83rd minute, bending home a left-footed stunner to the far corner and over Cropper's head. He combined with Maxi Moralez on a short corner-kick routine, then deposited an inch-perfect shot.

FC Cincinnati nearly clawed back into the match, but Sean Johnson produced a stunning double-save in the 70th minute that preserved NYCFC’s shutout. The goalkeeper first robbed Brenner from near range, then center back Tom Pettersson’s header was denied on the follow-up. In the first half, Johnson also reacted well to deny several efforts from rookie Calvin Harris.

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Goals

  • 7' – NYC – Jesus Medina | WATCH
  • 53' – NYC – Nick Hagglund (OG) | WATCH
  • 57' – NYC – Gudmundur Thorarinsson | WATCH
  • 67' – NYC – Valentin Castellanos | WATCH
  • 83' – NYC – Jesus Medina | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: NYCFC are now 5W-0L-0D against FC Cincinnati since the Orange and Blue entered MLS as an expansion team in 2019. They’ve also scored a combined 20 goals across that stretch, with Saturday's five goals particularly welcome as head coach Ronny Deila's side rebounded from a Week 1 loss. For FC Cincinnati, they’ve now allowed seven goals in their first two matches of the 2021 MLS season. They spent big in the offseason on Brenner and Luciano Acosta (out injured), but the defense appears to still need fixing.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Sean Johnson's double-save was simply fantastic. Despite the 5-0 final scoreline, NYCFC's captain answered the call every time he was needed.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Jesus Medina bagged a brace, and his second effort was a beautiful curling effort to the far corner. The Paraguayan attacking midfielder has faced criticism since coming to MLS, but produced one of his best days in an NYCFC jersey.

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