New York City FC are back in the Bronx for a meeting with Orlando City SC on Sunday.
Here’s the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…
Watch Out For Nani
One of the defining players of the last meeting between the two sides was Luis Nani. The former Manchester United winger produced a goal out of nowhere to give Orlando City SC the lead, and he will likely be a central figure for the team on Sunday.
The absence of Daryl Dike saw Oscar Pareja name Nani as a lone striker against the Philadelphia Union, but he operates in more of a free role when compared to a traditional number nine. His willingness to roam across the forward line means he will need to be tracked carefully by the NYCFC backline.
Nani’s threat when roaming was best evidenced during Orlando’s second goal. The Portuguese forward peeled out wide to the right before providing the cross for Andrés Perea to score. NYCFC enjoyed a clean sheet midweek against CF Montréal and one of the best ways to make that two in a row will be to keep Nani quiet.
Come the end of the week both New York City FC and Orlando City SC will have played three games in eight days.
Ronny Deila made small tweaks to the line-up between the games against Columbus Crew and CF Montréal, but it would not be a surprise to see both Deila and Oscar Pareja rotate their squads on Sunday.
August is a busy month for NYCFC, and it will likely be defined by rotation and recovery.
Take Your Chances
The world of soccer data is ever-evolving and one such metric that has gained popularity in recent years is expected goals.
The statistic can be defined as ‘the quality of a shot based on several variables such as assist type, shot angle and distance from goal’.
One thing you may have noticed at points this season is talk of NYCFC’s results not tallying with their performances, and that’s where expected goals backs that up. For example, against Columbus Crew the team lost 2-1, but the expected goals, based on chances created, suggested the team should have won 2-1.
Against CF Montréal, a game the team won 1-0, expected goals suggested they should have won at least 2-0. In short, NYCFC are consistently playing well, and Sunday could be the moment that is reflected in the box score.