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New York City FC are back in the Bronx on Saturday night to take on D.C. United

Here’s the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…

Prepare To Be Pressed 

Hernán Losada is navigating his first season in Major League Soccer, and arrived in the league with an interesting tactical style. 

At the base of his philosophy is an aggressive pressing strategy, while his team’s formation can differ between a back three and a back five. As the campaign has progressed D.C. United’s players have adjusted more and more to Losada’s demands, which Paul Arriola revealed has also made the team fitter.

Losada prefers his team to stay compact when not in possession, allowing for them to limit space in their half, and challenge the opponent to be precise to create chances. 

This presents two obstacles for New York City FC to navigate when in possession. The first, will force NYCFC’s players to be confident in possession and wrestle with pressure when on the ball. At the same time, the team will need to balance the risk and reward when trying to break through D.C. United and manage transitions effectively.

Overall, the game will be an interesting test for NYCFC, and one that should make for an entertaining game. 

Home Comforts   

Ronny Deila and his players have had a testing seven days on the road with difficult games against Red Bulls and Atlanta United. 

A late goal from Gudi Thórarinsson secured the team a big point against a playoff rival, and now they will return to Yankee Stadium on Saturday. The Boogie down Bronx has been the backdrop for some tremendous atmospheres in NYCFC history, and that has motivated the players to produce some of their best performances this season.  

The hope now will be Saturday can represent another example of that as NYCFC move towards securing a place in the postseason. 

Decisions, Decisions 

One of the key takeaways from Wednesday’s game against Atlanta was the impact made by NYCFC’s substitutes. 

Two of Ronny Deila’s changes – Talles Magno and Gudi Thórarinsson – combined to secure NYCFC a point, and elsewhere the likes of Gedion Zelalem and Héber also gave NYCFC a greater attacking threat. That will leave Deila with an interesting series of decisions to make on Saturday, which speaks to the team’s strength and depth as a squad. 

It will also make the team less predictable in a sense, and fans can be assured that whichever players starts for the Boys in Blue they will give their all in the pursuit of three points.