Major Keys LA Galaxy

Major Keys: NYCFC’s Intergalactic LA Quest…

“From the Hudson River out to the Nile, we run the marathon to the very last mile…”

It’s almost time for New York City FC’s first and only trip to Los Angeles in 2017.

Here’s Managing Editor Mark Booth with five Major Keys to the Match…

Keep Momentum

Since our club record equaling four-match win streak in June, we’ve not managed to string together back-to-back victories in MLS but will that change this weekend?

Patrick Vieira challenged his charges to demonstrate the consistency of a “big team” after watching his side overcome Red Bulls 3-2 last time out.

Our only visit to Los Angeles in 2017 grants us an opportunity to move into second place in the Eastern Conference’s MLS Playoffs race if Columbus can get anything at home to Chicago Fire on Saturday.

It’s a huge incentive for the Boys in Blue who travel to the West Coast in buoyant mood following their Hudson River Derby heroics.

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Fine Wine

Is David Villa actually getting better with age? The numbers make a compelling case.

El Guaje rose to the top of the Golden Boot race with his first NYCFC hat-trick against Red Bulls last weekend with 17 for the season, putting him well on course for his best-ever MLS tally.

His strike rate has risen in each of his three seasons, from a goal every 0.64 games in 2015, to 0.72 in 2016, to 0.81 in 2017.

He’s also creating more chances for his teammates than ever before, making 2.6 opportunities per game this season and averaging an assist every three games.

No player has ever retained the MLS MVP award in back-to-back seasons but Villa is no stranger to breaking records and setting precedents, is he?

Rodney Returns?

We wait for Friday’s Injury Report to see if Rodney Wallace is fit enough for inclusion in the gameday 18 but the Costa Rican has travelled to Los Angeles with the squad.

An adductor strain ended Rodney’s CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign early but the 29-year old has progressed well in his recovery since and will be eager to make up for lost time.

An important member of the 11 in the first half of the season, Wallace’s imminent return certainly gives Vieira more options after a tricky month with a patched-up squad.

Rodney will be hoping to see his first minutes since the victory over Minnesota at the end of June to add to his four goals and five assists racked up in his first 16 games for the club.

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Galaxy Quest

Recent form suggests that LA’s StubHub Center might not be the fortress it has been in the past.

Galaxy are currently winless in eight home matches which is their longest dry spell since 2010 and only three short of tying the longest home run without victory in MLS history.

However, the five-time MLS Cup champions have made moves to improve their fortunes...

Sigi Schmid has been appointed Head Coach, new DP Jonathan Dos Santos has doubled the Dos Santos quota in California and they earned a goalless draw against reigning champions Seattle in their last home game, giving the Galaxy faithful some confidence going into their third meeting with NYCFC.

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Depth Chart

All of a sudden, things are starting to look a lot healthier when it comes to depth in attacking positions.

Wallace’s return is big in this respect, but let’s not overlook the impact made by Khiry Shelton and Ugo Okoli in that victory over Red Bulls in the Bronx.

Okoli was singled out for praise from Vieira after a dominant 22 minute cameo off the bench, winning aerial battles in both final thirds and helping to overwhelm our rivals with his power and pace.

Shelton told NYCFC.com he felt strong after performing his substitute role and, speaking of players who want to make up for lost time, Khiry will be eager to make his mark on the 2017 season after missing four months with injury.

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