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New York City Football Club take on Columbus Crew at Lower.com Field this Saturday.

Here’s the Keys to the Match, presented by Ford.

Play The Ball

As with NYCFC’s previous game against CF Montréal this weekend’s trip to Columbus will see the Boys in Blue go against a side keen to control the ball.

The two sides share other similarities, including familiarity with playing in a 4-2-3-1 system as well as the use of a traditional playmaker behind the leading forward. NYCFC’s recent use of a back-three system adds an element of potential surprise if Nick Cushing and his staff decide to switch formation.

Either way, the game will present NYCFC with another opportunity to refine and improve their ability to control a game and dictate proceedings and in turn make for an exciting tactical battle.

New Man

Columbus Crew have been busy in the transfer market of late by adding Cucho Hernández to the roster from Watford.

The striker has spent time in Europe with several different clubs, and has begun life in Ohio well, registering four goals in four games.

This will be his first game against NYCFC and he will provide a tough test for the backline. Hernández is small, quick, and not afraid to shoot from close range or far out. The players and staff will do their preparation on Hernández, but he will need to be marshaled if NYCFC are to keep up their clean sheet run.

Tight Game

The last time NYCFC played in Ohio they were part of an eight goal thriller, but the stat sheets don’t suggest a repeat is likely on Saturday.

Columbus Crew have managed three goals in their last five home games at Lower.com Field. Meanwhile, NYCFC have lost just once in their last five road games, with two goals in their last three away games helping them secure seven points.

All in all, a close game would seem likely and that will put even greater emphasis on the first goal, which could prove decisive.