New York City FC will aim to stay perfect at Yankee Stadium when FC Dallas rolls into town this weekend.
Where will the game be won and lost? Here are the Major Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…
Bounce Back City
Let’s get this out of the way, last Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers stung some, as our unbeaten record came to an end at the eighth time of asking.
However, we have the perfect opportunity to put things right a week later as we face off against one of the West’s strongest outfits on home territory.
This side has proved its moxie on many occasions over the last 12 months, meaning back-to-back disappointing results are rarely talked about when you’re discussing the Boys in Blue.
You have to go all the way back to the first month of Patrick Vieira’s reign (April 2016) for the last time New York fell to defeats in two successive Regular Season games, which speaks to a resilient mentality in this City locker room.
Before Portland, NYCFC and FC Dallas were the two remaining undefeated sides in Major League Soccer – now only Sunday’s visitors hold that mantle.
Although the Hoops have played two fewer games, they’ve shown how difficult they are to put down through their six matches, earning a 3-0-3 record.
The Texans’ proud recent record for bringing through youth talents is an enviable facet of the club, as they’ve consistently provided a pathway for Academy talents to graduate through to the first-team.
Last time out, they were emphatic victors over the Philadelphia Union in Frisco, so we’re all set for a stern test of our early season credentials back in the BX.
Defend the Castle
Victories over LA Galaxy, Orlando City and RSL have shown us that City’s authority on home turf is as strong as it ever was in 2018.
With nine points from nine, Vieira’s men will attempt to maintain Yankee Stadium’s fortress status vs. a Dallas side who have pulled off a road win at New England’s Gillette Stadium already this year – a notoriously tough place to leave with one point, never mind three!
City have tasted defeat in the five boroughs only once in the last calendar year, so hopes will be high that we’ll have another party under the tracks next to 161st St before this weekend is through…
Moralez vs. Hayes
Jacori Hayes has been one of the star men for FC Dallas in the early weeks of the 2018 season.
A midfielder good on both sides of the ball, Hayes has been contributing to FCD’s attacks increasingly through their opening six games but he could be dispatched to counter the threat posed by Maxi Moralez - arguably NYCFC’s standout performer of the year so far.
It could be a decisive head-to-head on the field as NYC’s resident Spidey seeks to spin his silky webs as he did through the first seven to devastating effect.
As an added incentive, FC Dallas are the only team in MLS that NYCFC have faced and never defeated (2D, 1L).
It won’t be easy though – Sunday’s visitors are unbeaten in their last seven league games, outscoring their opposition 14-4.
They’ve also kept three clean sheets during their streak, as many as they had in their previous 21 matches…
Yep, it’s all shaping up to be a competitive and entertaining climax to the weekend…