NYCFC return to action on Saturday night with a trip to Ohio to take on Columbus Crew SC.
Managing Editor Mark Booth picks out five Major Keys to the game…
Not for the first time this season, NYCFC came away from a game against Orlando wondering how they didn’t take at least a point.
After the game, Patrick Vieira expressed that he was pleased with the work his team is undertaking between the boxes but bemoaned the lack of ruthlessness in front of goal and that his team allowed Cyle Larin the two chances he needed to score.
It doesn’t get any easier for the boys in blue as they travel to a Columbus Crew who boast a 3-0-1 record at Mapfre Stadium – a run which has featured impressive wins against Portland, Toronto and Orlando.
However, Vieira believes that he has seen a reaction from his team on the training ground in the days after the Orlando defeat which suggests his team are eager to set things right and inflict a first home defeat on Columbus in 2017.
Life on the Road
A demanding stretch of road games is ahead, with Patrick Vieira’s men facing five out of their next six games away from the home comforts of Yankee Stadium.
Following on from Family Day in the Bronx when Atlanta come to town, we’ve got trips to Dallas, Real Salt Lake, Orlando and Atlanta before returning home at the end of May.
A grueling stretch but following on from our first away win against Philly, it could be pivotal month in the campaign.
Changing it Up?
Will Vieira make changes to his lineup for this showdown in Ohio?
It speaks to the strength in depth and competition for place in the squad that every time a substitute has come in for NYCFC so far this season, they’ve impressed.
That was certainly the case against Orlando when Miguel Camargo, Yangel Herrera and John Stertzer all came in and helped their side to almost snatch a late draw.
If the game had gone on for five minutes longer, you’d have backed the home team to find that leveler.
On the trio, Vieira said: “You can expect more from them, especially in a busy month we’re going to be in. They’ve got talent and they just need to play to show how good they are. They will have the chance and opportunity to play in the next few games.”
Columbus may have slipped up over in New Jersey last weekend but they’re still one of the most impressive teams in the East at this early stage of the campaign.
Those afore-mentioned home wins will certainly give them plenty of confidence for this showdown but they may be without a number of their frontline talents, especially in defense.
Jonathan Mensah, Brad Stuver, Alex Crognale and Dilly Duka are all rated as questionable as Gregg Berhalter’s men aim for a fourth home win of the campaign.
Past meetings with Columbus have been anything but dull.
The teams have met on five occasions and there have been goals scored by both teams in every previous game.
In fact, games featuring NYCFC and Columbus average 4.6 goals per match, so we could be in for another entertaining one if history is anything to go by!