New York City FC kicks off its fifth season on Saturday afternoon in Orlando.
For the first time in 2019, here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…
It’s been a long offseason.
When NYCFC and Orlando take to the field in Florida this weekend, 111 days will have passed since our last official match.
Entering our fifth season on the road, we’ll hope to kick off the year just like we did in 2018 at Sporting KC, with a victory that will give us momentum going into the Home Opener vs. D.C. United on March 10.
It’s not just been a long offseason, it’s been a busy one too.
With a few notable departures, NYCFC have been busy in the transfer market, bringing in seven players to date: Tony Rocha, Keaton Parks, Ebenezer Ofori, Justin Haak, Juan Pablo Torres, Alexandru Mitriță and Luis Barraza.
Through preseason trips to Abu Dhabi, Orlando and Nashville, building team chemistry and testing out different tactical systems has been the mission ahead of the real business which starts this weekend.
It’s a young, hungry squad which enters Season 5, with the average age of the squad falling by a full year as Claudio Reyna and Dome Torrent have looked to build a team which is competitive both now and for years to come.
One of those options is Mitriță who became the Club’s third Designated Player when he joined at the start of February.
The Romanian international has shown that he has a keen eye for goal, too, scoring in both of his friendly appearances vs. AIK and Nashville.
His strike vs. Nashville in the final friendly of preseason was an especially exciting demonstration that we have another player who can create something special out of very little.
With a stunning free-kick also only just saved by the home GK in the same game, it looks like we have an explosive weapon which could earn NYCFC points in those games settled by the finest of margins.
Although there have been changes, there is consistency too, with the back line remaining unchanged through the offseason.
Maxime Chanot’s renewal was huge, meaning he’s likely to reunite with Alexander Callens as one of the league’s most stingy defensive partnerships.
Over the last two seasons, Callens and Chanot have been a formidable presence as is shown in the stats… With the pair, City’s win percentage is 52% and the team concedes on average 1.1 goals per game.
When one of them is missing, that win percentage dips to 41% and goals conceded per 90 is on average 1.3, showing just how important the pair are to NYCFC.
Orlando were a bogey team for NYCFC in the early meetings between the expansion cousins but there has been clear progress on this front in recent clashes.
NYC haven’t conceded a goal to the Lions in the last four matches between the teams and has scored 10 goals across four successive victories in this head-to-head.
Here’s hoping that Season 5 kicks off with a fifth win in a row vs. Orlando.