New York City FC haven’t won a match since March 15th. Nearly three months without a victory has the MLS expansion side bottom of the table, desperate for a victory to try and get some momentum going.
They try again tonight against the Philadelphia Union. NYCFC lost 2-1 at the Union earlier this year, and also drew with them 1-1 at Yankee Stadium.
The Union are led by forward CJ Sapong, who scored the equalizer against the club last time they met, and midfielder Maurice Edu. Both are dynamic players who can turn matches on their head. They also boast Algerian keeper Raïs M’Bohli, who had a brilliant World Cup for his nation.
NYCFC are without Mix Diskerud, who is on international duty with the United States Mens National Team. They are led by Spanish forward David Villa, who scored the equalized against the Houston Dynamo last Saturday, and winger Medhi Ballouchy, who scored a brilliant opener in the last encounter between the teams, and has been a consistent presence on the scoresheet for New York.
Ballouchy and Villa will need to keep pressure on the Unions defense in order to secure a positive result.
For NYCFC, the key to the game is defensively. By staying compact and organized, the club will be able to keep Sapong and Edu at bay. The defensive partnership of Jason Hernandez and Chris Wingert showed promise at first, but has since trailed off. They will need to be in top form Saturday night to help secure a victory. Also key is Josh Saunders, the veteran goalkeeper, who will need to outplay his Union counterpart.
In the midfield, NYCFC will suffer possession-wise without Diskerud. It’s up to players like Andrew Jacobson and Kwadwo Poku to keep possession, and act as a link from defense to attack.
Union 1, NYCFC 0
A lack of creativity will ultimately lead to another shutout for City, whose offense continues to stagnate. Only upon the return of Diskerud, the arrival of Frank Lampard, and the potential arrival of Andrea Pirlo, will NYCFC become a potent offensive unit. For now, a CJ Sapong goal sees the club drop yet another game on the road.
The match is at 7 P.M. ET, and can be seen on YES.