NYCFC meet Atlanta United once again on Sunday afternoon, looking to make it two wins from two against the 2017 Expansion Team.
Managing Editor Mark Booth picks out five Major Keys to the game…
NYCFC’s first-ever trip to Atlanta will mark the second meeting between these two teams following an emphatic 3-1 home win at Yankee Stadium just two weeks ago.
All the talk leading up to the game was regarding a potential clash of styles, between Patrick Vieira’s possession-based gameplan and Atlanta’s high-pressing counter-attacking.
On the day, however, NYCFC just simply didn’t allow Gerardo Martino’s men to get into their stride, dominating the game on both sides of the ball, fully meriting their comfortable victory.
This time, the boys in blue won’t have the home advantage to rely upon as they travel to a sold-out Bobby Dodd Stadium to face the Five Stripes in Georgia.
United have won half of their four games at home to date, including a one-sided triumph over Houston last time out which ended a run of three matches without a victory.
They come into this one full of confidence, eager to take revenge on NYCFC in this final clash between the teams in 2017.
It promises to be an intriguing matchup once again…
Home Fires Burning
This encounter is the final of four consecutive road games for NYCFC, following trips to FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake and Orlando City.
It’s been a punishing schedule for Vieira’s men as they have travelled nearly 6000 miles in two weeks but the air miles count decreases substantially over the coming weeks.
After this game, NYCFC will not have to travel further than New Jersey between now and July, meaning there’s a real opportunity to take a hold of the Eastern Conference in the weeks ahead.
David Villa netted his 48th and 49th goals for NYCFC at Orlando City last weekend, meaning he’s on the brink of yet another first to add to his ever-increasing list.
It’s a matter of time until David brings up his half century for the boys in blue and writes his name in the history books once again, but will he do it this weekend?
49 and counting... pic.twitter.com/oCci46Bl3V— New York City FC (@NYCFC) May 22, 2017
Reinforcements on the Horizon
With a game against New England Revolution coming up in the first midweek match at Yankee Stadium this season, it’ll be interesting to see how Vieira approaches selecting his XI.
In the buildup to the win over Orlando which served as the rebound to the RSL setback, Patrick conceded he’d perhaps rotated too many players in Utah and hinted at making fewer alterations in the future when the fixtures become congested.
Happily, there’s good news on the way when it comes to freshening things up in the shape of Ronald Matarrita and Khiry Shelton’s forthcoming returns from injury.
Whether or not Sunday’s game will come too soon for the pair remains to be seen but they’re certainly closing in on comebacks ahead of another busy spell.
You can usually guarantee goals when NYCFC or Atlanta take to the field – put them together and we could be in for something explosive.
Sunday’s game pits Major League Soccer’s top two goalscoring teams against one another – Atlanta have a league-high 24, while NYCFC are joint-third with 22 goals from their 12 matches.
Chances of a goalless bore draw appear slim...