New York City Football Club are on the road midweek as they take on Atlanta United on Wednesday.
The Boys in Blue return to action in a 7:30pm ET kick-off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as they search for a first road win of the season.
Here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Ford…
The absence of James Sands on Wednesday will provide Nick Cushing with another opportunity to shuffle the pack.
Regardless of which tactical tweaks Cushing opts to make, it is vital that those called upon seize their opportunity. Justin Haak has proven a reliable option in the heart of the defence, and has grown into his new role.
Cushing has not been afraid to rely on every member of his roster, as evidenced by his willingness to make five changes on Saturday against Columbus.
If one of those players, not currently in the starting XI can seize their opportunity and help the team record a first road win of the season, it could be a transformational moment for both themselves and the team.
The Five Stripes haven’t been afraid to attack this season and that approach has seen goals scored at both ends of the field.
Only two of Atlanta’s last 10 games have had fewer than three goals scored. Unsurprisingly, Atlanta sit second in the Eastern Conference for goals scored, just one behind Saturday’s opponents the Columbus Crew.
It also has them with the second-poorest defensive record in the conference. That combination of factors means Wednesday night could be an entertaining one for those watching. Hopefully, come full time there are goals a plenty and a positive result for NYCFC.
NYCFC will now begin the first of three testing road games that will see the team rack up the air miles.
Following Wednesday’s game against Atlanta, the team will head to Portland, followed by a trip to Montreal. Cushing and his side are desperate to record their first road win of the season and they will now be given three great opportunities to do just that.
The nature of road games makes them a test for the visiting side, and chances are Cushing and his players will learn a lot about themselves across the next few weeks. Whether it will produce the results the group want is unclear, but their commitment in pursuit of that outcome is one thing that fans can bank on.
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