Sunday evening marks the historic home opener for New York City Football Club against the reigning Eastern Conference champions, the New England Revolution. For the first time in franchise history they will be performing in front of their home crowd at Yankee Stadium. The expansion club has long awaited this homecoming as it is the first time preseason or otherwise that they will be in front of their home crowd.
Both season ticket sales, and individual game ticket sales have been increasing steadily over the past month as anticipation for this momentous event has been drawing nearer. Recently reported by NYCFC.com, the tally for season ticket holders has culminated to 15,000 the week leading to the home opener. Demand for tickets has increased to the point that Yankee Stadium has doubled its available seating, to include the 300 and 400 level sections.
On the cusp of selling out the stadium, the increase in interest and sales has shown that the City of New York is absolutely ready for life in the MLS. After their performance against Orlando City Soccer Club last week, and the excitement surround their first ever goal in franchise history which came off the boot of midfielder Mix Diskerud there has been a buzz of excitement in anticipation of the home opener.
Looking ahead to New England, skipper Jason Kries may look to capitalize on the chemistry that developed after the substitution of Khiry Shelton in the second half of last game. The speed, and control of possession that came with the second half substitutions demonstrated that through Diskerud had the ability to control passes through the mid field. Shelton’s speed kept defenders on the wing on their heels, and the amount of space that developed ultimately led to their only goal of the match.
One of the drawbacks from last weeks match up against Orlando City was the ease at which defenders were able to contain star forward David Villa. Through out the majority of the match time and space was taken away from Villa as he could be seen surrounded by multiple defenders. The lack of speed seemed to contribute to lack of chances during the first half.
The starting eleven against New England could be seen to have more speedy contributors in an attempt to provide more space for the forwards to work with. Expect Midfielder Sebastian Velazquez to make an appearance in the game. Khiry Shelton should be expected to start as much of the positive things that took place on the pitch came once he made an appearance.
The diamond formation that Jason Kreis likes to implement is going to need some more work, as once they moved to a somewhat unbalanced 3-4-3 setup they were able to generate more scoring opportunities. New England is looking to avoid another loss as they were handed a tough loss against the Seattle Sounders in week one. The atmosphere in New York will also be electric, and it will be up to the Revolution to weather the storm.
As New York aims to secure their first win of the season they must collectively keep in mind that going to ground and drawing fouls will ultimately cost them. Having been called for multiple fouls down the stretch, New York eventually let it cost them, as a free kick outside of the penalty box deflected in for a goal. It had been a constant issue for New York Down the stretch.
Observers will also want to keep an eye on Josh Sounders during the game. The New York City goalkeeper keeper suffered two head injuries during the strong performance he displayed in the opening game of the season. Many NYCFC supporters on social media were endeared to Saunders for his sacrifice and dedication to the club to continue on despite bleeding from his head.
New York City will be electric for this momentous occasion. The team itself will be looking to maintain possession, and get David Villa as involved as possible. New England will be stout, yet shaky after their rough start to the season, and it is yet possible that NYCFC will be able to capitalize on the momentum.
Come 5:00 p.m. ET, NYCFC comes to life.