New York City Goals: Callens 4', Moralez 49'
Atlas F.C. Goals:
New York City Football Club have won the Campeones Cup! Nick Cushing's side earned a deserved 2-0 win over Atlas F.C., thanks to goals in either half from Alex Callens and Maxi Moralez on a memorable night at Yankee Stadium. The triumph clinched a second piece of silverware for the Club, following 2021's MLS Cup success, as the Boys in Blue celebrated another historic night.
The fourth edition of the tournament, which pits the MLS Cup Champions against Mexico's Campeón de Campeones, saw two sides go head-to-head who had been struggling for league form in the build-up – each registering just one win in their previous ten games.
As a result, there was more than a trophy at stake, as the clash provided the opportunity to restore some much-needed confidence and secure a welcome return to winning ways.
Interim Head Coach Cushing named a much-changed line-up from the side that travelled to Charlotte FC, making eight alterations in total. Goalkeeper Luis Barazza and Forward Kevin O’Toole started their first games since the US Open Cup campaign, while Thiago Martins, Nico Acevedo and captain Maxime Chanot all returned from suspension, and Moralez, Santiago Rodríguez and Héber were restored to the starting XI.
With the Boys in Blue back at Yankee Stadium, the MLS Cup Champions sought to make home advantage count in front of a buoyant crowd, and the hosts broke the deadlock inside the first five minutes.
City had started brightly, forcing immediate pressure onto the visitors’ defence, and opened the scoring courtesy of a set-piece, as Gabriel Pereira floated a free-kick to the penalty spot. Acevedo beat goalkeeper Camilo Vargas to the delivery with the ball bouncing kindly for Callens to convert from close range at the backpost.
In an entertaining opening 20 minutes with plenty of goalmouth action, Héber and Rodríguez fired off-target, while Julio Furch’s dragged effort suffered the same fate at the other end.
Barazza recorded his first save on 28 minutes with a low stop to deny Anderson Santamaría, while Rodríguez forced Vargas into a parry with a powerful drive.
New York saw calls for a penalty waved away shortly before half-time, as Tayvon Gray went to ground under pressure from Luis Reyes – but the referee instead ruled in Atlas’ favor, cautioning Gray for simulation.
Julian Quiñones proved Atlas' main attacking threat, stinging the palms of Barazza from range and heading wide either side of half-time, but City delivered the killer blow in the next attack.
Talles Magno was the provider, playing a neat one-two with Rodríguez before slipping Moralez in and the Argentine made no mistake with the finish, drilling across the goalkeeper to double the lead.
Three minutes later, it was almost 3-0 but Rodríguez drilled straight at Vargas, whose New York counterpart Barazza produced a superb save to deny Quiñones before Atlas saw an Edgar Zaldivar goal correctly ruled out for offside.
With both sides chasing goals, the chances continued to land. O'Toole came inches away from a fairytale goal, heading just wide, and Callens spurned two good efforts.
Barazza was again involved, denying Quiñones once again in what was turning out to be one-v-one battle in the City penalty area, and Vargas had to be alert to claim Magno's deflected effort.
Desperate to preserve a clean sheet, Barazza proved impenetrable, while Talles almost added the icing to the cake, smashing into the side-netting – but two would be enough for Cushing and co. who created history once more.
How We Lined Up
Player of the Match
Derby Day is edging closer, as City host Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium in on Saturday, September 17 at 1:00PM ET. (MSG/ESPN+/YES/NYCFC.com/Radio).