Preview: NYCFC Face Toughest Test in Dallas

USA Today

by Anthony J. Merced

NYCFC begin a four game road trip with a tough trip to FC Dallas. The Western Conference leaders have been one of the best teams in MLS over the past few seasons and will test New York City’s defensive stability more than any team has to this point. Having won three of their last four games and their last two road games, NYCFC is hoping that momentum will carry them to a positive result against an undefeated team.

FC Dallas have been relentless in 2017, unbeaten in their first eight matches and taking the maximum amount of points in five games. They’ve also been incredibly stingy on the defensive side of the ball, allowing only five goals all season long. NYCFC has allowed double that number but been far more effective on the offensive side of the ball scoring 17 goals, tied for third most in MLS. NYCFC is also one of only four teams that has an even or positive record on the road this season. This means that the game will have an air on unpredictability as both sides could legitimately win this cross-conference clash.

Starting XI: Johnson; Sweat, Callens, Chanot, White; Ring, Moralez, Pirlo; Harrison, Villa, Wallace

Worth Noting:

  • David Villa is on fire, having scored a tremendous opening goal against Atlanta United last week. The Spaniard has notched six goals on the season, tied for second in the Golden Boot race. Villa has also recently agreed to a contract extension, removing the burdensome discussion of his future from the season. Now, the reigning MLS MVP will try to continue his hot streak against one of MLS’ toughest defenses in Dallas.
  • Andrea Pirlo will more than likely make a return to the starting line up as Yangel Herrera departs for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The timing couldn’t be worse as Herrera proved to be the missing piece in the midfield over the last two games. He has been involved in plays and provided the pace necessary for the team’s quick transitions. Pirlo, who played poorly to start the season, will have a lot to prove. Expectations aren’t that he will provide the same kind of support, but he needs to show that he can make the passes he has been know for over in Europe.
  • The mysterious case of Tommy McNamara continues. Originally he was a super sub off the bench, scoring one goal in six appearances but now he has disappeared entirely. Rumors have swirled that he may be traded. Should he not appear on the bench in Dallas, those rumors could continue as the absence of Herrera would indicate the need for McNamara on the bench.