New York City FC’s fourth Home Opener is on deck.
Here’s Managing Editor Mark Booth with your Major Keys to the Match, presented by Ford…
Back to the Bronx
123 days have passed since we were last together at Yankee Stadium.
It’s been a long wait for Major League Soccer to return to the Big Apple but the weekend is fast approaching, just as the snow is melting across the city.
The 24 Hour Game at the Rockefeller Center, kicking off at 4pm on Friday, will commence a weekend-long football festival as we celebrate the launch of NYCFC: Season 4.
Bring your singing voices and deck yourselves out in blue.
It’s going to be a lot of fun…
One constant across every NYCFC Home Opener is David Villa.
El Guaje has been in the lineup for them all and he looks certain to be leading the line once again when Sunday rolls around.
It will be a landmark appearance for NYCFC’s first-ever player too as he will bring up a century of MLS appearances for the Boys in Blue – unsurprisingly, becoming the first to do this in City blue.
Will he mark the occasion in style? Don’t bet against it…
Who Replaces Chanot?
Maxime Chanot’s late red card in the season-opening victory over Sporting Kansas City means that Head Coach Patrick Vieira will have at least one change to make to his XI.
The Luxembourg international will miss the game through suspension but who will come in to replace him?
Plenty of options for Vieira to ponder in the coming hours and days.
On a Roll
NYCFC are now enjoying a streak of two successive wins over Galaxy, thanks to our 2-0 win at the StubHub Center in 2017.
Galaxy haven’t scored against us in the two games since our 5-1 defeat to them in our inaugural season but Sigi Schmid has a whole host of new options to call upon this year.
LA have strengthened considerably in the offseason and demonstrated some of their new weapons in their 3-0 preseason win over us.
Can we make it three in a row? One thing is for sure… it won’t be easy…
Alessandrini Misses Out
Galaxy also began 2018 in good form, defeating Portland Timbers 2-1 at the StubHub.
However, they will be without the scorer of the winning goal Romain Alessandrini, who went down with a hamstring injury and has been ruled out of this match.
LA have averaged 0.8 fewer goals per 90 minutes with Alessandrini off the field, tallying 1.4 goals per 90 with him in the side and just 0.6 without.
The former Marseille man being missing is undoubtedly a blow to Schmid but, in Sebastian Lletget, the ex-West Ham midfielder, they have an able replacement who can also do damage in the final third.