New York City FC returns to action in Denver on Saturday evening.
Here’s Managing Editor Mark Booth with four Major Keys to the Match…
A remarkable statistic: Since 2011; the 50 points NYCFC has from 28 games would be enough to be 1st place in Eastern Conference in each season except one (2012; 51 points).
In addition, since 2011, the previous high in MLS for points from 28 games is 56 points…
That Toronto have 59 currently shows just how good the Canadian outfit have been this season but it also does plenty to reflect well on NYCFC’s form so far in 2017.
NYC will need to win on Saturday to keep up fading hopes of a Supporters’ Shield challenge, while TFC travels to LA Galaxy without Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore.
Whether or not this proves to be a turning point weekend in the Supporters’ Shield race, it’s worth remembering just how well we’re tracking year-on-year.
And on that note…
… barring a monumental collapse, NYCFC will comfortably improve last season’s best-ever MLS points tally of 54.
With six games to spare, the Boys in Blue are just four points shy of that tally heading into this intriguing encounter in Denver.
Across all of the important metrics, NYCFC are tracking to improve on last year’s impressive Sophomore campaign, including goals scored and goals conceded, as well as points.
While Patrick Vieira will emphasize that it’s what happens in the postseason that will determine how 2017 is remembered, he must be satisfied with how things are going, even taking into account last weekend’s unfortunate home defeat to Portland.
Case for the Defense
An important factor in NYCFC’s year-on-year improvement has been at the back.
While there have been moments of vulnerability as you would expect in a long Regular Season, there’s no question that things have tightened up in this respect in 2017.
Rolling with the injuries to Maxime Chanot and Ronald Matarrita, NYCFC have gone five games without conceding more than one goal – the longest such run of the season so far, thanks in no small part to Frederic Brillant and Alexander Callens who look to have built a solid partnership.
Against a Colorado side who will be buoyed by their win over Houston Dynamo last time out, all will be needed to execute the less glamourous aspects of the game once more at DSG Park on Saturday.
The Road Warriors
Finally, a word on our form away from Yankee Stadium so far this year…
Only Toronto have a better record on the road than NYCFC since Vieira took charge at the beginning of 2016.
The Frenchman averages 1.4 points per game outside of the Bronx (12-13-5) and the team has scored 46 goals across those 30 games – also good for the second-highest amount behind… you guessed it, Toronto.
Can we clinch our sixth road win of the season in Denver? You haven’t got long to wait to find out…