Preview: New York City FC at New England Revolution

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by DAVE MARTINEZ

New York City FC are still riding the high of their first ever Hudson River Derby victory, but Wednesday night, they go back to work.

The New England Revolution host NYCFC at Gillette Stadium in this Eastern Conference showdown. Currently, NYCFC (7-5-6 27 pts.) sit atop the conference while the Revolution linger below the red line (4-6-7, 19 pts.). NYCFC are on a three match winning streak while New England have lost three of their last five.

Will the Revolution make their way up the table? Or can NYCFC pad their lead atop the East?


Match Information:

Date: Wednesday, July 6 at 7:30 P.M.
TV/Streaming: FoxSportsGo (tape delay on YES at midnight)
Radio: nycfc.com/radio
Referee: Dave Gantar

Regular Season Record, GF/GA, Division and League Position, Recent Form

New York City: 27 points from 18 matches, 29GF/31GA, First in the East, 4th in MLS, WWWLD
New England: 19 points from 17 matches, 23GF/31GA, 7th in the East, 16th in MLS, LLWWL

Projected Lineups

New York City (4-3-3): Saunders; Allen, Mena, Brillant, Matarrita; Lopez, Bravo, Lampard; Shelton, Villa, McNamara

New England (4-2-3-1): Shuttleworth; Farrell, Woodberry, Goncalves, Tierney; Caldwell, Rowe; Bunbury, Nguyen, Fagundez; Agudelo


New York City’s attack vs. New England’s defense
Thomas McNamara, David Villa, Khiry Shelton vs. Andrew Farrell, London Woodberry, Jose Goncalves, Chris Tierney

New England are looking to break their two match losing streak, meaning they will not be able to afford a weak backline performance against NYCFC. Still, they are facing fixture congestion like NYCFC, meaning Woodberry will be in their plans. David Villa leads the league with 12 goals. Teenage sensation Jack Harrison has enjoyed a solid run of play, but expect Khiry Shelton to return and spell the red-hot Stoke native. Tony Taylor may also be in contention, but count on workhorse Tommy McNamara to carry the familiarity in attack with Villa against a near-top level Revolution backline.

Advantage: New York City


New England’s attack vs. New York City’s defense
Juan Agudelo vs. R.J. Allen, Jefferson Mena, Frederic Brillant and Ronald Matarrita

The Revolution have a pivotal match this weekend against the Columbus Crew – former home of MLS standout Kei Kamara. Kamara played this past weekend after seeing some limited action against the Cosmos in Open Cup action. With the possible need to rest Kamara, Agudelo may get his first start since May 29th. On the other side, Jason Hernandez is certainly in need of a rest, as is Frederic Brillant. Expect Mena to build on his fantastic performance against the Red Bulls, joining Brillant in stifling the Revolution attack. Matarrita will also return from red card suspension.

Advantage: New York City


Midfields
Mikey Lopez, Federico Bravo, Frank Lampard vs. Scott Caldwell, Kelyn Rowe; Teal Bunbury, Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez

The midfield trio of Lampard, Pirlo and Iraola is an aged one — and one that has certainly excelled. Lopez and Bravo have consistently been on the outskirts of starting minutes, and with rotation needed, will find themselves back in the mix. Lampard, who is still working his way to full fitness, should get the start – despite the harsh terrain at Gillette. With several of their best options in need of a break, the Revolution midfield looks overwhelming in comparison. Bunbury, Nguyen and Fagundez are among the best attacking group in the league — at least on paper. Shielded by Caldwell and Rowe, NYCFC will have a difficult battle at midfield.

Advantage: New England


The Coaches

Patrick Vieira has been impressive. His ability to think outside of the box has made up for the team’s defensive deficiencies all season long. Keep in mind: despite their places in the Eastern table, both teams have given up a whopping 31 goals — yet it is NYCFC at the top of the standings. That is a credit to Vieira. Heaps is a straight forward, smash-mouth coach with five years under his belt at the helm of the Revolution. A fan favorite as a player, Heaps has led the Revolution to the playoffs three years in a row, including an MLS Cup appearance. He has also been able to consistently field a competitive side throughout his reign.

Advantage: Push


Intangibles

Gillette Stadium is a handful for any road club. The turf is nightmare, particularly on the legs of older veterans. The Revolution will be looking to maximize points after a bad run. New York City, however, are riding high after three straight wins and a derby victory. There are no suspensions to speak of, but expect NYCFC to rest several deserving players heading into this one.

Advantage: New England

Prediction: 1–1 draw