After a tough loss in Utah, New York City FC is back at home looking to make their comeback in the Bronx in front of the Cityzens.
In soccer, you have to have a short term memory when it comes to being defeated, and that’s exactly the approach the Boys in Blue are taking for Thursday’s matchup against the Houston Dynamo.
“We’re just kind of trying to hit a reset button,” Sebastien Ibeagha told reporters. “Not the best outing in Salt Lake, so we’re just trying to clear our minds and put our best foot forward this Thursday.”
Thursday’s game is a special one for the defender as he’s taking on his hometown team. Ibeagha grew up in Houston and was raised through the Dynamo’s academy.
He saw a lot of success in his time with the academy and was named 2009 Dynamo Academy Player of the Year in only his second year in the program.
The defender went on his own way after graduating from the academy, but in 2016 he made his way back to the club. Ibeagha signed his first MLS contract with the Dynamo, but he never took the pitch with the team as he was loaned out, and eventually made his way to the Big Apple.
The match is not just crucial for City to return to their campaign of climbing up the Eastern Conference table, but it’s a reunion game for Ibeagha.
“It just means a lot - I always like playing against them, it’s always fun,” he said. “They were my first team in MLS and I was a homegrown for them so I have a lot of great memories so it’s always just kind of a great and emotional game for me.”
The Dynamo hit the ground running at the start of the 2019 season, but since then they’ve hit a rocky patch with a stretch of road games. The Texas-side has a 2-8-0 record on the road this season with a -11 goal differential, but NYCFC is not underestimating the team.
“They have a lot of fast wingers and very good attack. They’re just big and physical so we just have to match that intensity,” Ibeagha said.
NYCFC is also in a challenging patch of the season. The club has played the fewest matches in the league, 21, and is now having to catch up before October rolls around.
After taking on Houston at home on Thursday, New York City’s football club hits the road again traveling to the South to face Atlanta United on Sunday.
With a travel packed schedule, their key to success is…
“Rest and preparation,” Ibeagha quoted Head Coach Dome Torrent.
“Those are two of the biggest things that Dome has been preaching. Just to make sure we’re preparing correctly and everyone is ready.”
Luckily for Dome, he has options when it comes to his roster, and that is a resource that he will utilize to get through this pivotal stretch of the season.
“We have a lot of depth and people will be called upon,” Seb stated.
NYCFC has added more depth to their defensive efforts by acquiring Eric Miller from Minnesota United.
Miller has yet to make his City debut, but his moment might come sooner than later. When it does he’ll be ready thanks to the help of his teammates, and according to Ibeagha - communication.
“I just think it’s talking. New system, different players, and different style of players. I think it’s all about communicating clearly what we do and how we do things on the field and I think he’ll settle in really well,” he said.
As the team gets ready for the showdown in the Bronx against the Houston Dynamo, we’ll need the 12th man to show up and show out. Buy your tickets now to support your Boys in Blue on their hunt for yet another three points at home!