Preview: NYCFC Looks for Restart in Home Opener

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

NYCFC didn’t have the start to 2017 they would have liked in Orlando but have a chance for a restart against DC United in their home opener at Yankee Stadium. The team will hope to kick-start their offense after a scoreless game despite dominating statistics.

The blue side of New York had nearly 70 percent possession against Orlando City SC last week and out-shot the opposition by a 2-to-1 margin. Still, Cyle Larin’s 15th minute goal was the key to victory as Orlando was able to absorb pressure. This park-the-bus mentality has to be one that NYCFC expects each week. Players like David Villa, Maxi Moralez and Jack Harrison seemed nearly unstoppable on the ball but were shut down in front of goal. Patrick Vieira will need to find ways to get his key players high percentage opportunities against DC.

DC didn’t start their season off hot either, as a scoreless draw with Sporting KC at RFK Stadium didn’t excite fans. However, DC does have did six of their nine shots on target, forcing the SKC goalkeeper into some impressive saves. That will have to worry NYCFC as the defense was shaky at times against Orlando City.

PROJECTED STARTING XI:

NYCFC: Johnson; Matarrita, Callens, Chanot, Allen; Pirlo, Ring, Moralez; Wallace, Villa, Harrison

DC United: Hamid; Kemp, Franklin, Birnbaum, DeLeon; Sarvas; Nyarko, Buscher, Jeffrey, Sam; Mullins

Player to Watch: Rodney Wallace was a physical presence on the wing, something that bordered on problematic for NYCFC. However, Wallace was never sent off and the team showed a bit of grittiness that was lacking in 2016. He also created opportunities from the wing where players like Tommy McNamara were lacking in creativity.

X-Factor: NYCFC’s defense will always be an x-factor as questions still surround their center back and defensive midfield roles. Both Alexander Ring and Maxi Moralez pushed forward against Orlando City, leaving Pirlo to do defensive clean-up which didn’t go well at times. It also placed major pressure on Callens and Chanot who found themselves crossed-up at times. The defense will need to be sorted out against DC who has speed on the wings and in the striker position.

Where to Watch: Sunday March 12th at 2PM on MLS Live