New York City FC returns to the Bronx on Saturday where Colorado Rapids will provide the opposition.
Here’s Mark Booth with the Major Keys to the Match, presented by Ford.
David Villa Day
NYCFC haven’t graced the Etihad Pitch at Yankee Stadium since the 3-1 victory over FC Dallas which will forever be remembered as the game which has been immortalized by, who else, but our first-ever signing and captain.
Yes, we’ll gather together this weekend to celebrate David Villa Day, by proclamation of the Mayor’s Office, a fitting tribute for the 36-year old from Asturias, Spain.
Villa appeared on Good Morning New York on Wednesday morning to discuss the achievement and described it as a “dream” and a “proud moment” in what has been a glittering career for club and country.
You’ll want to arrive early for this one in order not to miss any of the special tributes which we’ve got lined up for this man who is still such a key contributor to this team, which he proved by scoring goal no.402 last time out in the 2-2 tie with LAFC.
And wouldn’t it be just like El Guaje to mark this special occasion in style? You really can’t miss this one…
Back to Winning Ways?
City rarely goes three games without winning but that’s a streak they’ll be attempting to avoid when they step out onto the turf on Saturday.
That said, the Boys in Blue looked far more like themselves last weekend when they held in-form LAFC to that draw at the Banc of California Stadium.
It was a match which could have gone either way as both sides served up an immensely entertaining first meeting, trading two goals each, before that thrilling finale which saw chance after chance at both ends of the field.
With the derby day defeat well and truly washed through the system, Patrick Vieira will be targeting all three points this time around in order to move back to the summit in the early Supporters’ Shield running.
In Good Health
The Boys in Blue enter this clash with the Rapids healthy, with only Maxime Chanot having a question mark against his name at the time of writing.
We’ll find out more about the Luxembourgian defender’s chances of playing on Friday when the Injury Report drops through from the medical team but Sebastien Ibeagha has proved to be a great option when Max hasn’t been available.
The defender was more unfortunate than anything with the own goal that gave LAFC their equalizer on Sunday, turning in another assured performance alongside Alexander Callens, demonstrating the strength in depth available to Vieira in all positions.
Another pleasing feature of the tie last weekend was the success of the tactical switch employed by Vieira after the concession of Carlos Vela’s go-ahead goal.
New signing Ismael Tajouri-Shradi didn’t take long to mark his return from injury with his fifth goal for the Club but NYCFC threatened on plenty of occasions in the remaining 20’, showing the full attacking potential of the team in a 3-5-2 formation.
Anton Tinnerholm and Ronald Matarrita were able to work the channels and force the overloads on the wing, while Jo Inge Berget, Jesus Medina and Tajouri-Shradi combined to great effect on multiple occasions to threaten.
Yes, there were opportunities for the home side too, but if Plan A isn’t working, Vieira has shown he has the tactical nous to switch it up and ask a different question of the opposition in-game, which is key for a Head Coach in this most unpredictable of leagues.
History was made last time we welcomed Colorado to the BX as Frank Lampard scored the club’s first-ever hat-trick in a 5-1 victory.
That’s still good for our record win across the last four seasons, as City romped to an emphatic victory which they will be trying to replicate in front of the NYCFC faithful in this 12th test of the young campaign.