New York City FC travels south this weekend for the game of the MLS weekend.
Where will the match be won or lost? Here’s the Major Keys to the Match, presented by Ford...
Early Season Classic?
MLS really saved the best for last this weekend…
NYCFC travels to Georgia for the last game of this round of fixtures against fellow Eastern Conference pacesetters Atlanta United.
It’s first vs. second at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Tata Martino’s men put their unbeaten home record up on the line vs. NYCFC’s undefeated start.
Both teams have been in rich form of late, with NYCFC triumphing 4-0 over Real Salt Lake and Atlanta laying waste to LAFC 5-0 last time out.
It’s all set up to be an early-season classic…
Key to City’s hot start has been the form of Maxi Moralez, who is looking like one of the league’s most dominant playmakers in the early weeks.
He has three goals and two assists in his last five league games, including back-to-back matches which he finished with a goal and an assist.
Maxi was at his mesmeric best on Wednesday night, taking 122 touches in total, which is the third most an NYCFC player has ever taken in a single game.
Since the start of 2017, when Moralez became our third DP, he’s created 98 chances, which is good for fourth-most in the league.
A man at the peak of his prodigious powers.
Head Coach Patrick Vieira always wants his players to make it difficult for him to choose his XI and they’re certainly living up to their end of the bargain so far in 2018.
Now the Frenchman can welcome back Ronald Matarrita, Alex Ring and David Villa to the squad, he’s going to have a few tough decisions to make this weekend.
Jo Inge Berget and Ebenezer Ofori both scored and performed well in the Bronx in midweek, while Matarrita was rivaling Moralez for Star of the Game on his first start of the season.
Who will Patrick go with for his XI? You’ll find out here on NYCFC.com roughly an hour before first kick on Sunday.
Goals on Forecast?
City made light work of the Expansion side in the first-ever meeting between the teams in 2017 but Atlanta exacted their revenge by the same 3-1 scoreline in the return game.
So, no clues on how this one is going to go based on last season but, this year, we have the best goal differential in the league with +10 and have scored more (14 goals) than any of the 23 MLS teams.
Atlanta are just behind with 13 goals from their five matches, so we could be in for a real goalfest down south on Sunday.
Or not. NYCFC have kept more clean sheets than any team in either conference (3), shutting out Sporting KC, Orlando City and RSL.
Not many teams come away with points from the cauldron that is Atlanta’s new home but Vieira says that his players are welcoming the prospect of playing in this raucous atmosphere.
With the Frenchman at the helm – a man with experience of playing in most of the world’s most intimidating arenas – they have the perfect man to set the right emotional tone, keeping heads clear and focused on the matter at hand.
Should be another good one... make sure you head to the Rookery in Brooklyn for our official Watch Party and enjoy the game with your City Fam.