New York City FC begins their quest for the MLS Cup on Wednesday night at Citi Field.
Here’s the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…
Pick it Up
Now, where were we?
It’s been 16 days since we finished off the regular season in style on the road at Philadelphia. 16 days of anticipation. 16 days to dream.
The first step is Wednesday night at Citi Field when Toronto FC will provide the opposition for NYCFC’s fourth Eastern Conference semifinal.
It’s been a long pause in competitive action but NYC have stayed sharp and focused with a trip to Chicago for a behind-closed-doors scrimmage which put valuable minutes into legs at this crucial time in the postseason.
Now there’s no more dress rehearsals. It’s time to Make It Here.
It’s a vastly different-looking NYCFC squad facing off against the team who ended our first MLS Playoffs run in 2016, but for the fans, memories of that painful semifinal defeat will still provide some extra surge of motivation from the bleachers.
This TFC side showed their quality to rout D.C. United after extratime in the First Round last weekend and will hope that the positive momentum carries them through to victory over New York once again.
Greg Vanney’s side were one of only two Eastern Conference sides NYCFC failed to defeat in the regular season, but like The Ringleader said on Fan Appreciation Night: “Let’s make sure teams know… when they come to New York there’s nothing to get.”
Citi Field Return
When NYC takes to the field on Wednesday night, it’ll be two years and one day since the team’s last appearance at Citi Field – on Decision Day 2017 vs. Columbus Crew SC.
In Sean Johnson, Alex Callens, Ben Sweat, Alex Ring, Maxi Moralez and Ronald Matarrita were all in the matchday squad that day and will remember how the NYCFC fanbase ensured home field advantage was very much in play.
With this return to Queens, the fans will surely bring the noise again as New York City’s Football Club aim to make more history and advance to the Eastern Conference final for the first time.
Keaton Parks and Isamel Tajouri-Shradi were two players who benefitted greatly from the scrimmage in Chicago and are both in contention to feature vs. Toronto.
Héber is also back in the reckoning after a muscle injury but it remains to be seen if he's fit enough to start in the XI or from the bench.
The team’s top-scorer marked his last return from injury with a goal off the bench vs. Atlanta United and you certainly wouldn’t bet against him coming up clutch once again if needed here.
It's not too late. Grab your tickets for the Eastern Conference semifinal below and let's bring it home For The City.