New York City FC beat Inter Miami, 3-0, in an MLS playoff match at Citi Field on Monday, ending Gonzalo Higuaín’s storied career in the process.
After the match entered the half scoreless, the home side hit the visitors with a three-goal blitz in the second period. Gabriel Pereira, Maxi Moralez and Héber found the back of the net for NYCFC in the second half, setting up an Eastern Conference semifinal date against CF Montréal.
The pre-game talk centered on Higuaín’s impending retirement, with the 34-year-old announcing earlier this month that his illustrious career would come to a close at the end of the season.
There was also the question of where the game would be held. With NYCFC’s normal home of Yankee Stadium unavailable, the team eventually found another baseball stadium to host the match in the form of Citi Field.
The crowd at the home of the New York Mets would witness a wild first-half sequence that nearly saw Inter Miami score two straight own goals. Héber’s chipped shot was cleared off the crossbar byAimé Mabika, and Chris McVey’s attempted clearance immediately rattled off the post.
Inter Miami got the match to halftime scoreless, but would only hold out until the 63rd minute before Pereira opened the scoring with a fantastic curled finish following tremendous work from Santiago Rodríguez.
Moralez put the game away six minutes later before Héber added the gloss in stoppage time.
After the final whistle blew, Higuaín grew emotional on the pitch as he grappled with his 17-year professional career coming to a close.
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One of the greatest strikers of his generation, Higuaín played for some of the biggest names in the game including River Plate, Real Madrid, Napoli, Juventus, AC Milan and Chelsea.
On Monday night, it all came to an end on a field whose most recent game saw San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove pitch seven scoreless innings to help eliminate the New York Mets from the National League wild-card round.
It’s a funny old game sometimes.