New York City FC Head Coach Patrick Vieira has made one change his XI for Friday night’s road game at Houston Dynamo.
Anton Tinnerholm returns to the line-up in place of Ismael Tajouri-Shradi as the sole alteration to a team which ran out 4-0 victors over the Colorado Rapids last weekend in the Bronx.
On that occasion, Vieira fielded a 3-4-3 formation but it seems he’s reverted to a more typical 4-3-3 reading between the lines of this XI.
With Tinnerholm likely to start at right-back it appears as though Sebastien Ibeagha once again lines up as a central defender, partnering Alexander Callens.
Opposite to Tinnerholm, Ronald Matarrita makes his 50th appearance for NYCFC in his final game before he joins up with the Costa Rican National Team for World Cup 2018.
David Villa leads the line centrally, with Jo Inge Berget and Maxi Moralez likely to start wide, with Alex Ring, Ebenezer Ofori and Yangel Herrera patrolling the midfield.
On the bench, Rodney Wallace is poised to feature for the final time before he joins Matarrita for World Cup preparations, alongside Jesus Medina, Tommy McNamara, Tajouri-Shradi, Sweat, Cedric Hountondji and Brad Stuver.
NYCFC XI: Johnson, Tinnerholm, Callens, Ibeagha, Matarrita, Ring, Herrera, Ofori, Moralez, Berget, Villa (C)
Subs: Stuver, Hountondji, Sweat, Tajouri-Shradi, McNamara, Medina, Wallace
- Houston is winless against NYCFC in their three all-time meetings (1L-2D). The Dynamo’s lone loss to NYCFC came at home in 2016 (a 2-0 scoreline).
- The Dynamo have scored eight goals in their last two home games – both wins – after losing both of their previous two home games while scoring just one goal.
- NYCFC are winless in their last four road games (2L-2D). They have conceded an average of 2.8 goals per game over that run.
- Houston has averaged 50.6% of possession at home this season, up from 44.3% a year ago – the second-lowest in MLS.
- NYCFC average 570 passes per game this season, the most of any team in the league. They complete an average of 464.8 passes per game, also the most in the league.
- Houston is ranked in the top five of both shooting accuracy (53.1% – 4th) and shot conversion rate (14.6% – 5th).
- David Villa had two goals and five key passes against Colorado last weekend, the second time Villa has had two goals and five key passes in the same match since joining MLS (vs Chicago in September 2016). Diego Valeri is the only other player to put up similar numbers in a match in that time (done once in June 2016 vs. Houston).
- Following his brace last weekend, Alberth Elis now has six goals in his last nine regular season appearances. He had 11 goals in his first 31 regular season games.
- Ismael Tajouri-Shradi averages a goal every 91 minutes this season, the third-best rate of any player with at least five goals.
- Tomás Martínez has been subbed off eight times this season, tied for the most of any player.