New York City FC is back on the U.S. Open Cup trail on Wednesday night in D.C.
Here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…
Chasing a Dream
NYCFC booked their ticket to the Round of 16 thanks to a first-ever Open Cup win vs. North Carolina FC last week.
Now, the guys will be hungry to string together cup wins but they will face a tough assignment vs. Ben Olsen’s D.C, who found their way through to Round 5 with a dramatic, late extra-time win over Philadelphia.
A place in the quarterfinals is now at stake where NYCFC or D.C. would face off against Orlando or New England but Dome will be telling his players to focus on one game at a time as he chases the Club’s first piece of first-team silverware.
We Meet Again
This will be the second time NYCFC and D.C. have met at Audi Field in 2019 and the third meeting of the season all in.
NYC hold the advantage through the seasonal series, securing four points from the two games, including three earned in the District from a hugely impressive road show from the Boys in Blue.
On that occasion, goals from Alexandru Mitriță and Héber won the day for an authoritative NYCFC who limited D.C. to half chances on the way to a shutout win.
What happens this time? Don’t look to the league for clues – cup soccer is notoriously unpredictable and this is unchartered territory for NYCFC against a D.C. chasing their fourth Open Cup lift.
Back in Contention
Dome Torrent told reporters yesterday that Tony Rocha suffered a training ground injury and will not be in contention to continue his good form vs. D.C. but the Boys in Blue will be bolstered by the returns of a couple of key men.
Alex Ring sat out the North Carolina win with an injury but the skipper is in training and will hope to lead his side out at Audi Field.
Another man back on the training field is Ben Sweat, who made his last appearance for NYCFC back on June 1 vs. Columbus where he went down with an injury.
With Ronald Matarrita away at the Gold Cup and Rocha looking likely to miss out, the stage could be set for Ben to get minutes back in his legs and help City to another Open Cup win.
Stick or Twist?
A feature of the 4-0 win in the last round was the young NYCFC players given an opportunity to shine.
For the likes of Justin Haak, Keaton Parks and Juan Pablo Torres, this was an invaluable chance to start their first games for the club and build chemistry with more established senior players, like Maxi Moralez, Anton Tinnerholm and Taty Castellanos.
In the last round, regular MLS starters like Héber, Mitriță and Tajouri-Shradi were kept in reserve until late in the night and it’ll be interesting to see if Dome keeps with that same selection policy or switches it up for a road game with eyes trained on the last eight.
You can watch D.C. United vs. NYCFC live on ESPN+ on Wednesday night with kick-off taking place at 7pm.