The Boys in Blue are kicking off this weekend of MLS action on the other side of the river…
Yes, it’s almost time for Hudson River Derby Vol.3 and, if it’s as good as the first two installments of the series, it’s going to be some night.
Here’s Managing Editor Mark Booth with four Major Keys to the Match…
Complete the Sweep
We’ve already won the series but NYCFC can do something they’ve never done before on Friday night.
A victory over Red Bulls will make it three for three for the season, securing a 3-0-0 Hudson River Derby whitewash for the Boys in Blue.
Our dominant 2-0 win at Red Bull Arena in June should equip the team with confidence going into this one but the team will have to be wary of a home side who will be desperate to salvage some local pride.
In the 3-2 thriller at Yankee Stadium, Jesse Marsch’s men made a much closer game of it with an improved performance, so Patrick Vieira will know his team will have to be in peak form to take all three points home to NYC.
There’s another piece of history being chased on Week 26 of the season…
NYCFC equaled the club record for consecutive wins (four) in June and we can do it again if we get the W in Harrison.
Standing in our way is a Red Bulls team who fell to Portland Timbers in Oregon last weekend but won four of their previous five games before that.
They’re 4-1-1 at Red Bull Arena since May, with NYCFC inflicting their only defeat in that spell, so it certainly should be an interesting clash between two teams who will go all out for all three points.
One In, One Out
Frustratingly, we now face another game without one of our regular starters in midfield.
The Venezuelan will feel hard done by as it looked like a soft booking late on against New England but at least Vieira knows he has strength in depth and another door will open for someone else to get the start.
Mikey Lopez showed what he can bring to the team against New England with his energetic, whole-hearted performance, while Tommy McNamara will also be eager to come in and shuttle the ball across the middle third and everyone knows about the range of passing Andrea Pirlo could also bring.
Alternatively, could we see a change in system to accommodate a start for Sean Okoli or Khiry Shelton, or could Jack Harrison move into a central role, allowing both Jonathan Lewis and Rodney Wallace to start?
So many options… what would you do? Let us know on Twitter @NYCFC.
Nine games to go… all to play for.
NYCFC have the opportunity to move eight points clear of third place in this one.
With Chicago not in action until Saturday night’s home game against Minnesota, that opens up the chance for us to put some serious daylight between us and Veljjko Paunovic’s side.
Toronto are seven points ahead of us in the Supporters’ Shield race, having played a game more, but face difficult a difficult trip Montreal so the picture could alter significantly over the next hours and days.