New York City FC returns to action after the bye weekend on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
Where will the game be won and lost? Here are the Major Keys to the Match, presented by Ford…
It’s back to the BX we go for the first time in a month on Wednesday night where Real Salt Lake will provide the opposition.
While NYCFC are aiming to prolong their unbeaten start to the 2018 season, the visitors will be entering the game on their own high after a big weekend win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
It was an impressive run-out from Mike Petke’s men as they defeated a team with one of the hottest starts in Major League Soccer.
Only NYCFC and FC Dallas remain undefeated in the whole league, while RSL sit fourth in the early Western Conference standings, meaning all of the ingredients are there for an open, expansive clash between two in-form teams under the Yankee Stadium lights.
Should be a good one.
NYCFC’s unbeaten start only looks more impressive when you consider the absences the squad has absorbed through the first five.
Ronald Matarrita has been out for four games, David Villa has missed the last three, while Alex Ring and Rodney Wallace have been absent for two each - and City has accumulated points in each outing all the while.
While we wait to read the Injury Report for this one, we know that all four of those players mentioned are in training and expected back soon, meaning Vieira will have several of those headaches coaches love when he comes to choosing his upcoming XIs.
No goalkeeper in Major League Soccer has earned more clean sheets in 2018 than Sean Johnson.
The City stopper also leads the league in save percentage (84%) which will be no surprise to anyone who tuned in for our comeback victory over the San Jose Earthquakes last time out.
Johnson made nine saves in NYCFC’s fourth win of the young season, bringing to mind another brick wall impression he pulled in California last year at LA Galaxy.
Sean enjoyed an excellent first season in blue following eight years at Chicago and worked his way back into the USMNT picture around Gold Cup time – if he continues as he’s started in 2018, the Stars and Stripes will surely be calling NYCFC’s no.1 once more…
Real Salt Lake are the only team in MLS that NYCFC has played but has never taken points from before.
A heavily rotated NYCFC took the lead in Salt Lake City last year through Ugo Okoli but eventually went down 2-1 at the Rio Tinto Stadium on a rare occasion the Boys in Blue have surrendered a lead in the last 12 months.
Although City travels to Atlanta this weekend, Vieira has said that he and his team will leave nothing to chance for the three points in this midweek matchup at Yankee Stadium.
City has truly made Yankee Stadium a fortress under Vieira recently.
No team in MLS has lost fewer than NYCFC’s solitary defeat in their last 15 home games since May 2017 and Vieira’s charges have scored multiple goals in all but three of those matches.
Real Salt Lake is winless in their last six away matches (4L-2D) but, following their win over an in-form Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend, they’ll believe they can end their road troubles and bring an end to the hosts’ unbeaten start.