New York City Football Club looks to bounce back from their loss against the Philadelphia Union in the second match of a home and away series. Philadelphia drawing first blood in this new rivalry was able to work out a win at home in PPL Park, defeating NYCFC by the score of 2-1 despite the heroics of Captain David Villa. The venue now shifting to Yankee Stadium should put some fire into the home side.
It is to be expected that the turn out will not be as sizable going into Thursday night’s game being a weekday, and simultaneously in competition with the opening game of the playoffs for the New York Rangers, yet the atmosphere will be ever electric. The fans are ravenous for a win, knowing that New York City had not displayed their best effort in Philadelphia.
The Union offense has been anemic since last year, despite the performance they put on last week against New York, and it will be up to midfield contributors, and the tactics of Jason Kreis to draw the performance and potential out of this team. Defensively New York City has been inconsistent as their back line has been a bit shaky.
Despite keeping NYCFC in their games miscues from the back line has resulted in unnecessary pressure against, and significant scoring chances for the opposition. The efforts of Josh Williams, Jeb Brovsky, Chris Wingert, and Jason Hernandez need to improve when New York struggles with possession in the midfield, which has been the case so far this season. However Kreis may not be so quick to switch out starters in the back line, as overall they’ve been the most consistent.
The midfield is a different story as the components of the heart of this teams offense have often been interchanged in an attempt to produce the desired results. Someone Kreis might consider to install would be midfielder Kwadwo Poku to inject some pace, and poise to the midfield. Poku performed well as a substitute for Mehdi Ballouchy in New York’s game against Sporting Kansas City.
Poku contributed with possession and accurate passes that showed a notable difference in New York City’s offense during his time in the game. Another obstacle the midfield will have to deal with is the absence of Mix Diskerud who has been called away for international duty. Sebastian Velasquez will also have to start in Thursdays game as his speed and creativity will be relied upon in Diskerud’s absence.
I can’t imagine Jason Kreis will be so quick to utilize the untested members of his midfield as starters, which may be the best decision for this upcoming game. Expect Kreis to rely on his experienced players such as Ballouchy, or Andrew Jacobson to control the play up field. One of the positive things to look forward to in this upcoming match is that David Villa will most likely make the start
Then there’s the question of the forward to partner with Villa. Now granted the majority of this article is speculation, Chemistry is an important part of a team coming together to complete a task. It’s unlikely that much will change in the line up not including Mix, yet it would be interesting to see what may come from moving around your alternate forward.
Rookie Forward Khiry Shelton has shown both his inexperience, as well as his natural talent in coming off the bench, but the raw material is clearly there. It would be interesting to see what he may produce as a starter. Adam Nemec on the other hand has been a source of much frustration for NYCFC supporters. If given the start Thursday it will only be a matter of time before he cements his first goal of the season.
One, or two feet the other way, Nemec may have easily scored at least three times during his play this season, but we will never know. The only thing that can be done is to look forward, and try to improve at every opportunity. The Philadelphia Union are streaky at best, and similarly determined to come away with three points from this meeting.
The recent bump in the road will be temporary. Look forward to see New York City Football Club bounce back with limited changes to the lineup. Prepare for early, or halftime substitutions if they cannot get out to a proper start. Game starts at 7 p.m. ET on YES.