New York City FC midfielder Santi Rodriguez (20) and San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Eric Remedi (5) battle for the ball during the first half at Yankee Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

A pair of second-half substitutes helped New York City FC turn a scoreless match into a relatively comfortable home victory on Sunday afternoon.

Maxi Moralez and Gabriel Pereira came on in the 65th minute and played important roles in the MLS match at Yankee Stadium. And so did second-half substitute Chris Gloster, who replaced an injured d Malte Amundsen 10 minutes earlier.

Moralez gave the Cityzens a much needed spark and offensive cohesiveness. Pereira and Gloster scored goals on what turned into a 3-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes. All three goals were scored in the second half for City (4-3-1, 13 points) as San Jose dropped to 1-5-3.

“I think it was our best performance this year,” NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila said.

Thanks to Moralez and Pereira.

“I think Maxi and Gabriel changed the game by finding spaces,” Deila said. “We changed into a really offensive formation because we had Keaton (Parks) and Santi (Rodríguez) as the two sixes and Maxi as a ten.”

The 14 goals in three games for NYCFC is the second most in MLS history.

Talles Magno, who suffered through a long afternoon of near misses, set up Keaton Parks’ second goal of the season, as he scored from 12 yards past goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. A series of passes on the left side produced the score before Magno slipped the ball home.

Four minutes later, City was celebrating again as second-half substitute Periera connected from 16 yards to extend the lead to two goals. It was his second goal in as many matches.

“Gabriel’s left foot is fantastic,” Deila said. “He has shown it twice in two games. He is adapting to the style, in training and everything in a very good way. He’s already had a very big influence on the games.”

Moralez set up the final goal – his first MLS goal – in the 88th as his cross-field pass found Gloster on the left side and the outside back smashes it home made it 3-0.

“He had a great goal,” Deila said. “Offensively he’s top and defensively he has to develop. Today he did a really good job defensively and offensively.”

Goalkeeper Sean Johnson recorded the clean sheet.

Much was expected of City from the onset because it had scored 11 goals the past two weekends – in a 6-0 win over Real Salt Lake and a 5-4 triumph over Toronto FC.

Playing under interim head coach Alex Covello, the Quakes dominated the first half as NYCFC tried to get its act and rhythm together.

“I have to give credit to San Jose,” Deila said. “They were really organized and hard to play against. They really believe in what they are doing, playing from behind, pressing together. We had to be at our best, be patient, and to stay disciplined. It’s easy to be stressed when you don’t take your chances in the first half. We just kept on going.”

Then came the second half.

“In the break, we talked about changing formations because of their press up front, with Talles going inside on one side and Thiago going wide on the other,” Deila said. “That caused them problems. I think Talles came really alive in the second half.”

The hosts came close to scoring twice.

In the 28th minute, Magno’s header hit the left post

NYCFC almost took the lead in the 59th minute as Magno was ruled to be offside after putting the ball into the net.

FrontRowSoccer.com editor Michael Lewis has written a new book, ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. You can learn more about it or purchase it here:

www.Rochesterlancersbook.com