Keys to the Match | New Faces 


New York City Football Club are back on home soil on Sunday evening as they entertain Minnesota United.

The Boys in Blue play host at Citi Field with kickoff scheduled for 7:30PM EST.

Here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Ford…

New Faces

Nick Cushing has described recruitment as an ‘ongoing process’ at NYCFC, but that didn’t stop the Boys in Blue having a busy end to the transfer window.

Mounsef Bakrar and Birk Risa, were joined by Julián Fernández, Alonso Martinez, and fan favorite Maxi Moralez in arriving through the door before the close of the window.

Those reinforcements will be vital for the team as they approach the final stretch of the MLS Regular Season. The team’s new faces will be keen to impress and earn a starting spot in Cushing’s side, with the Head Coach now blessed with greater options when picking his team or trying to change the game.

Whether in the starting XI or from the substitutes bench the new faces will be ready to contribute and offer something to the team. That contribution could start on Sunday, with the element of surprise something NYCFC could also benefit from when taking on the Loons.


One of the many exciting wrinkles in Sunday’s game is seeing how the two sides line up tactically.

Minnesota have remained a tactically consistent side under Adrian Heath, operating in a 4-2-3-1 system. The man likely leading the line for the Loons is new signing Teemu Pukki. The former Premier League striker has Emmanuel Reynoso sitting underneath him, with the Argentine constantly looking to find the Finnish striker with passes.

Comparatively, Nick Cushing has been keen to utilize his side in a back three system of late. One of the main benefits of that system is that it allows NYCFC to stretch the field and keep play as wide as possible.

Minnesota would prefer to say compact and narrow when defending before potentially spreading wide when they have the ball. Sunday’s game will reflect a battle of wills as both teams attempt to enact their style on the game, making for an enthralling contest.

Under Starters Orders 

While NYCFC’s Leagues Cup experience brought about some undoubted positives, Sunday represents the return of MLS play.

The goal for NYCFC is simply; to finish as high as possible and secure a spot in the postseason. Nick Cushing and his players know the task won’t be easy, but the meeting with Minnesota represents the perfect opportunity to build a good foundation in their quest for a playoff spot.

Only four points separate NYCFC and D.C. United in the final playoff spot, and a set of favorable results this weekend could slash that gap and swing things in NYCFC’s favor.

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