New York City Football Club begin their 2022 MLS Regular Season campaign with a road game against LA Galaxy on Sunday, February 27.
Here are the Keys to the Match presented by Tri-State Ford…
Let The Games Begin
The arrival of the 2022 MLS Regular Season signifies what could be the beginning of a busy few months for New York City FC. The Boys in Blue are managing domestic commitments alongside participation in the Concacaf Champions League, and while that could mean a congested schedule it is not something that concerns Ronny Deila.
“We love to play games,” he said. “Last year, we played a game every three days and we are used to it. Now actually, it is boring to train so much so we just keep on playing.”
That positive mentality will be important for the team in the coming months. The chance to play with such regularity could help facilitate positive momentum as games come thick and fast. While the result against Santos de Guápiles was important, what will give Deila and his staff more confidence was the quality of the performance.
Maintaining that standard – starting on Sunday – will be vital. The team have set the bar it is up to them to reach that level once again.
One of the major themes from NYCFC’s 2021 campaign was the team’s ability to start games quickly. In the first leg against Santos de Guápiles the team took a fifth minute lead, while they could have easily repeated that on Wednesday during the second leg with Taty Castellanos’ chance after three minutes.
The LA Galaxy will be aiming to finish near the top of the Western Conference this season, and Sunday’s game poses a tough test for that reason. If NYCFC can strike an early blow it will provide them a platform to exert more control over proceedings. Even if it does not produce a goal it is important that NYCFC make it difficult for the Galaxy in those early exchanges.
The fact NYCFC started their season earlier than the Galaxy gives them ample opportunity to make the most of that momentum with a fast start. After all, start as you mean to go on.
Watch Out For The Little Pea
Javier Hernández is one of the most recognizable faces in North American soccer and his presence in the Galaxy attack offers them a pedigreed forward to create chances for.
Taty Castellanos was statistically the best striker in MLS last season, but that didn’t stop Chicharito from recording an impressive 17 goals in 20 regular season games. The forward will need to be well marshalled on Sunday, and if the team can limit the Galaxy’s attempts to create chances for him it will go a long way to keeping him off the score sheet.
NYCFC’s defensive efforts were a large factor behind their historic run to MLS Cup and they will need to show that same defensive strength on Sunday afternoon.