Dome takes his Boys in Blue on the road for the first time this weekend, making the trip to Chicago for a Saturday night showdown at Toyota Park.
Where will the game be won and lost? Here are the Major Keys to the Match, presented by Ford…
On the Road
NYCFC returned to winning ways with a convincing 2-1 come-from-behind win over Toronto FC last weekend.
It was the perfect way to return from the international break and the perfect way to welcome the third Head Coach in club history, Domènec Torrent.
Although Torrent was quick to redirect credit for the win to his predecessor, the early read on the new boss has been positive, with Sebastien Ibeagha especially effusive with his first impressions in the post-game media scrum.
However, Dome will have to overcome a poor recent run of away form, with City winless in their last five trips (3L-2D), averaging 2.8 goals conceded per match.
Time to put that one right!
It’ll be a night for reunions in Chi-Town, with Sean Johnson returning to Toyota Park for the second time.
On top of that, Chicago’s talisman Bastian Schweinsteiger will be seeing someone he enjoyed some special years with at FC Bayern Munich…
On being reunited with Torrent, Schweinsteiger said: “I’m very glad he came over and made the step to MLS. He took over a great team, a very smart move!
“He’s a good person, he knows everything about soccer, he worked with Pep for many years. It’s great for MLS to have this kind of coach in the league and I’ll be glad to see him this weekend.”
NYCFC lost their first-ever meeting the Chicago Fire in 2015 but we haven’t tasted defeat to them in the six encounters since.
We’ve recorded three draws and three wins in that span, averaging 2.2. goals per game.
Last time we traveled to Toyota Park in September 2017, David Villa scored our only goal in a 1-1 draw.
What happens this time around? The Fire knows they can move back into the Playoff spots with the three points, so will have no shortage of motivation.
Jo-Ing for Goal
Jo Inge Berget enjoyed his most productive 90’ in an NYCFC shirt in the 2-1 win over Toronto and he’ll be eager for more on his first trip to Chicago.
Everyone knows Berget scored the two goals which turned the tide vs. the 2017 champions but did you know he did something that only four players in the league have done since the start of 2016!?
Berget scored twice AND he made five key passes in the sae game. The only other players who’ve done that are Diego Valeri and Borek Dockal, as well as David Villa, who has done it twice – including once vs. Chicago in September 2016.
Derby Day Approaching…
As if motivation could be any higher for this one, City enter this road game knowing that the Hudson River Derby back in the BX is up next.
Competition for places will be an all-time-high as players look to make sure they’re involved in one of those games which is circled twice on the calendars of every NYCFC and Red Bulls fan.
The two 4-0 defeats to our cross-river rivals in 2018 stung, meaning we’ll want to have a positive performance vs. Chicago to give us the momentum to enter derby day in confident spirits.
Time to prove that New York is Blue.