NYCFC’s third MLS Playoffs campaign commences on Wednesday night with an instant rematch vs. Philadelphia.
Here are the Major Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…
When NYCFC went out in the Eastern Conference semis last season, Alex Ring was not in the mood to take the positives.
Despite City’s spirited response in the home leg, the Boys in Blue fell one goal shy of advancing to the final after a brutal away defeat with ten men in Columbus.
Ring said: “We gave it our all but it’s very hard to take. Honestly right now, first thoughts are that it was all for nothing because we wanted to go all the way and lift the cup.”
This year, the Finn and his teammates be eager to put best foot forward and get that first postseason win to help inflame dreams of silverware at season’s end.
The Right Energy
With a fragmented, stop-start schedule, injuries and international breaks, it’s been tough to build up any kind of momentum in the back straight of the Regular Season but Sunday’s win over Philadelphia was the perfect warm-up for this.
On Monday, the boys returned to the Bronx for open practice and you only need to watch the footage to see the effect this emphatic win had on our squad spirit.
The energy is right and the boys are pumped to give it their all in front of you on Wednesday night – it’s a huge match and it starts at zeroes in our city.
Let’s make it count.
Defend the Bronx
Our home record against Philadelphia was further improved by that 3-1 in the Bronx on Sunday night, taking us to 3W-0L-1D in four meetings since 2015.
Our struggles in the last third of the season are well documented but we’ve never looked anything but dominant in the Bronx.
Even in the defeat to New England, the 1-0 loss felt like an aberration or freak result, with Dome Torrent’s men controlling the game but unable to find a way through.
Our Regular Season record at Yankee Stadium stacks up against anyone in the league with 12W-1L-4D from our 17 games (tied for fewest home losses and best goal differential +26 in MLS).
In his fourth season at NYCFC, David Villa played less soccer due to some niggly injuries in the middle of the season but there are no signs of our record goalscorer slowing down.
El Guaje has netted 14 goals so far in 2018 which is the fewest in his four years, but when you look at his goals per minute ratio, he’s still just as deadly and important as ever.
His 14th goal of the year took David to 0.72 goals per 90 mins which is his joint-second-best goal-per-minute ratio at NYCFC (0.72 in 2016, 0.77 in 2017).
Just a goal shy of Wright-Phillips for most MLS goals in the last four years, Villa will be vital if the Boys in Blue are going to go deep in our third postseason campaign.
Make Some Noise
All season long, you’ve brought the energy and passion to make Yankee Stadium a fortress and, though this one falls on Halloween, we’re counting on you to do the same again on Wednesday night to get us through to face Atlanta.
It’s going to take all of us, fans, players and staff, to Make it Here… Come on New York!