NYC’s Football Club is shipping up to Patriot Place in Foxborough, Massachusetts for a Sunday MLS matchup with New England Revolution.
The Boys in Blue bested Bruce Arena’s side on September 7th, a day when Jesús was king of the Bronx, with a brace off the bench that included a late stoppage time winner from the penalty spot to secure all three points.
The Revs will surely be ready for the return fixture at Gillette Stadium as they currently hold what would be the seventh and final playoff place with only a couple of matchdays left on the schedule.
Here are the keys for NYC to clinch the Eastern Conference on Sunday.
Top of the Heap
First things first. A win or a draw clinches the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Dome said it best after Friday’s training session at the City Football Academy:
"We need one point to finish in the first position. Forget about it if you think about Philadelphia and Columbus. You have to think just of yourself." - @DomeTorrent #NYCFC— New York City FC (@NYCFC) September 27, 2019
📽️ MANAGER PREVIEW 👇 #NEvNYC pic.twitter.com/B21KwzfQD2
It’s something a few in the New England camp have, and something NYC is looking to cement in their fifth season as they enter a fourth straight MLS playoff berth, albeit in a new format.
It’s something New England Patriot’s wide receiver Julien Edelman felt when he saw the familiar face of Bruce Arena in the hallways:
That stuff rubs off – and Arena’s new charges have only lost once at home in his first year in New England – to the Supporters Shield champion Los Angeles Football Club.
Shutting down the Eastern Conference, in a tough playing environment on the road, would certainly feel like another task passed on the greater quest for City.
With Taty Castellanos, Alex Ring, and Maxime Chanot out due to yellow card accumulation as well as Anton Tinnerholm, James Sands, and Keaton Parks still out with injuries, it will be on a ready and waiting core of new blues to provide service in all areas – and especially attack and game management.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi looked a resurgent spark plug on Wednesday night and is a player that is surely getting back to his best self at the right time after two months out with an injury earlier this season. Could it be another breakout road performance for 29?
He’s definitely comfortable with the surroundings. Isi struck for a second half brace to rescue a point in New England last year:
Defenders of The City
They are many and they come from all positions. The latest to step up on Wednesday were Sebastian Ibeagha and Tony Rocha, who were huge in helping to control the match against the defending champions to the tune of a comprehensive 4-1 scoreline.
Dome was full of praise for Seb especially, who simply applied his regular performances as an outside back in training to help NYCFC to their biggest win of the season so far:
🎙️ | "I’m happy for these kind of players because everybody talks about other players, but how important is it for the coach to have players like Seb, who is ready all the time, no matter if it’s to play five minutes or ten minutes. Always ready." - @DomeTorrent #NYCFC pic.twitter.com/igBHwprXVI— New York City FC (@NYCFC) September 26, 2019
As we come down the stretch of the regular it’s more important that everyone in the NYCFC fam stays together.
If you’re not making it up to Foxborough, we’ve got pub partners and fans everywhere, so link up and keep that good energy flowing #ForTheCity