In the penultimate game of the regular season, New York City FC faces a stiff test in surging D.C. United.
What is the key to victory for NYCFC?
According to Andoni Iraola, it is all about sticking to what has worked throughout the season.
“Obviously we want to do what we are doing now,” the midfielder said. “We want to keep the ball, have a good buildup from the back, try to play to our right and that’s what we’re trying to work on this week. I think we will be ready for Sunday.”
Iraola has been a steady presence as a deep lying midfielder for NYCFC with 18 starts in the last 19 games and 23 in 27 appearances this season. The veteran has played exactly 2,000 minutes on the season and his transition to the midfield has been one of the keys to NYCFC’s success this season.
NYCFC has lost just one of the last nine games Iraola has started, including back-to-back wins over the Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo.
“I think we are also in good form and I think we can win this game,” Iraola said.
But Iraola knows that won’t be easy. While NYCFC can move a step closer to clinching one of the top two spots in the Eastern Conference, D.C. United is trying to secure one of the final three playoff spots in the East.
After some early struggles, D.C. United has won three straight games and has just one loss in their last 12 games and is currently in fifth place, four points ahead of the playoff line.
“Obviously it’s a huge game for us,” Iraola said. “They are a good team, they are probably one of the best teams right now. They’ve won three in a row, lost one in their last 12. They are in a very good form.”