The XI: Matarrita and Struna Start vs. Columbus

The XI Columbus Playoffs

New York City FC Head Coach Patrick Vieira has made two changes to his XI for the Eastern Conference semifinal second leg vs. Columbus Crew.

Ronald Matarrita and Andraz Struna both come into the team in place of Ethan White and Alexander Callens as City chase a landslide victory to progress.

The Boys in Blue were defeated 4-1 on the road at MAPFRE Stadium on Tuesday night and know a 3-0 victory will take them through to take on the victors of Red Bulls vs. Toronto.

From the looks of Vieira’s XI, Ben Sweat will be the one to partner Frederic Brillant in the heart of defense as the suspended Callens sits out following his red card in midweek, with Matarrita and Struna playing at fullback.

It’s the same midfield three which lined up in Ohio, meaning Alex Ring is joined by Yangel Herrera and Maxi Moralez in the center of the field, while Rodney Wallace and Jack Harrison will once again provide the width on either side of David Villa.

NYCFC are hosting a game Yankee Stadium for the first time in two months and host Columbus in the Bronx for the first time since our 4-1 Decision Day win over them in 2016.

A repeat of that scoreline would take this tie into extratime…

READ:Major Keys to NYCFC vs. Columbus Crew SC

NYCFC XI: Johnson, Struna, Brillant, Sweat, Matarrita, Ring, Herrera, Moralez, Wallace, Harrison, Villa (C)

NYCFC Subs: Johansen, White, Awuah, Pirlo, McNamara, Lewis, Okoli

Key Stats

  • Including the first leg, New York has won just two of their eight all-time meetings against Columbus (3L-3D). Neither team has been held scoreless in any of the eight games.
  • Columbus are unbeaten in their last five games away from home including the playoffs (1W-4D). Columbus has lost by four or more goals just once this season: against Toronto 5-0 on May 26th.
  • David Villa finished with 10 shots and four chances created in the first leg, becoming the fifth player with 10+ shots and 4+ chances created in a match (inc. playoffs) since the start of the 2010 season.
  • In the first leg of this series, Federico Higuaín became the first Crew player since at least 2010 to record multiple assists in a playoff game. It was his ninth game with multiple assists since the start of the 2010 season (inc. playoffs). No other Crew player has more than three such games.
  • NYCFC had 62.2% of the ball in the first leg. They have lost five of the 12 matches they have played in the 2017 season where they had more than 60% of the ball (5W-D). They lost just five of the 23 other matches they played this season (11W-7D).
  • Following his goal in the first leg, Ola Kamara now has four goals in MLS play against NYCFC, tied for the third most he has against any team in the league (five against New England and Real Salt Lake).
  • In 2,020 minutes with Artur on the pitch this year, Columbus averages 1.6 goals and 1.2 conceded per 90 minutes. In 1,453 minutes without him, those numbers change to 1.4 scored and 1.4 conceded.
  • Columbus has only conceded one goal from outside the box in 2017 (inc. playoffs), the fewest of any team in MLS. NYCFC scored 11% of their goals from outside the box this year, tied for the eighth lowest percentage in the league.
  • NYCFC completed 568 passes in the first leg, 40 more than they completed in any other game this year.