New York City Football Club Head Coach Ronny Deila believes his side will face a tough game on Wednesday against D.C. United.
The two sides played out three memorable encounters in MLS last season, with D.C. claiming one victory and NYCFC winning two including a 6-0 success at Yankee Stadium in October. Wednesday’s meeting will see Deila face off against interim head coach Chad Ashton following the departure of Hernán Losada late last month, and the Norwegian revealed on Tuesday that he sees many similarities between the team under Losada and Ashton.
“It's a tough, tough game,” he said. “A lot of similarities from what they’ve been doing before and it's still a very direct and pressing team. There is a lot of energy and quality upfront. Their two fullbacks are also very very good. So they have to have a good team.”
He later added: “They are tough to play against because they're very direct - you lose the ball and you win the ball a lot. Then it's about how we deal with transitions offensively and defensively. How quickly do we react? How good are we at winning second balls? When you win it, find a blue shirt to play with. It’s a challenging opponent to play against.”
Elsewhere, Deila also hailed the hard work and industry of Taty Castellanos. The forward leads the team’s scoring charts this season with nine goals in all competitions, and while he has been a threat in the final third his coach was keen to commend his hard work off the ball defending from the front.
“That's a big point,” Deila said of his defensive work. “His numbers are not so high, he doesn’t run an unbelievable amount but he runs in the right moment so he goes 100% in every challenge. That is a benchmark for the whole team when he goes first and sacrifices everything in the challenge it’s so easy for the others. He gives us a lot and also of course with his presence upfront. When he attacks space, you can just put the ball up in the air and they will win it. He’s an important player for us, no doubt about that.
“He compliments the other players. They maybe want to receive the ball between the lines. Having players that are different like him, Thiago, Gabriel, that can attack the spaces behind is important when we have players like Talles, Santi, and Maxi that are more against the ball.”