Preview: New York City FC vs. New England Revolution

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

New York City FC can end March 2016 with the same record it ended March 2015 with a loss Saturday against the New England Revolution.

Or, they can record their best March record in their short history.

All of that depends on their performance Saturday night. The Revolution are winless in its first three matches and can be in an early crisis with a loss. Saturday’s match is the third in a seven-game stretch against the Eastern Conference. It would not be ideal for New England to drop points to NYCFC with its next two matches against the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC.

A win for NYCFC would not only reduce the wait time for a second win from three months to two weeks but propel them into first place in the East at the end of March.


Match Information:

Saturday, March 26th at Yankee Stadium. 3:00p ET kickoff
TV/Streaming: YES/Fox Sports 2Go (for screwed Comcast subscribers)
Radio: WFAN (English), WADO (Spanish)
Referee: Ricardo Salazar

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

New York City: 4 points from 3 matches, 6GF/6GA, 5th in the East,11th in MLS, WDL
New England: 2 points from 3 matches, 3GF/6GA, t-7th in the East, 17th in MLS, DDL


New York City’s attack vs. New England’s defense
Tony Taylor, David Villa, Steven Mendoza vs. Chris Tierney, Jose Gonçalves, Andrew Farrell, Darrius Barnes

Steven Mendoza replaces Khiry Shelton who is with the USA U23s at right wing. NYCFC’s attack had its chances in each of its three games but hasn’t scored from open play since its first match. Mendoza can expand New York City’s attack with his ability to take defenders 1v1 from wide areas.

The normally resilient Revolution defense has lost its shape too quickly and marked too loosely during the season’s opening month conceding six times. They will be without Je-Vaughn Watson who is on international duty. Darrius Barnes will replace Je-Vaughn Watson at right back. The defense’s experience playing together should help it overcome its sloppy start to the season and they will face NYCFC, who they had no problems containing last season.

Advantage: Revolution


New England’s attack vs. New York City’s defense

Charlie Davies vs. Diego Martinez, Jason Hernandez, Andoni Iraola.

Charlie Davies is expected to return after an injury that held him out of last week’s loss to the Philadelphia Union. The New England attack relies on quick combinations from its skilled front four and Davies has enough speed to run in behind the defense. Davies scored the last time these two teams played in 2015 though there are others who can score for New England as well.

Patrick Vieira has not decided between using three or four at the back. Vieira will have to replace Ronald Matarrita who is with Costa Rica and could insert Diego Martinez on the left side. Jefferson Mena is fit and could be an option as well. Both players would share the left side if Vieira switches to a four-man defense.

Advantage: Even


Midfields

Andrea Pirlo, Federico Bravo, Thomas McNamara, Kwadwo Poku vs. Steven Caldwell, Gershon Koffie, Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, Teal Bunbury

Both teams lose a midfielder to the USA. Mix Diskerud and Lee Nguyen are with the national team in Guatemala but both NYCFC and the Revolution have players who can replace them. Kwadwo Poku can be a replacement for Diskerud as an inside right but that depends on Vieira’s confidence in him.

With some maneuvering, the Revolution can keep its five-man midfield without needing to rely on options off the bench. Kelyn Rowe can play in the center of the attacking three with Bunbury moving from center forward to the right side. New arrival Gershon Koffie and Steven Caldwell work the defensive midfield with Jermaine Jones in Colorado. It is midfield that can retain possession but lacks bite.

Advantage: Even


The Coaches

Both coaches are looking for better concentration from their sides, especially in the first stages of the game. Vieira and Jay Heaps each said their team gave the game away last week with poor focus. Along with getting his side to be more attentive, Vieira is still getting his side up to speed on their roles. Heaps’ players know what he wants from them, the execution remains to be seen.

Advantage: Revolution


Intangibles

Both teams lose starters but the Revolution are used to having players unavailable to international duty. This NYCFC squad has yet to face that challenge. New York City play four times at home during FIFA dates this season. If their reserves prosper and help the team pick up results, the points will be handy later in the season.

Advantage: Revolution


Prediction: 2–2 draw.

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  • Fat Frank

    Hey, Mates

    I’m at a bar on the east side and there’s a glfootball match on tv. I see Pirlo and David Villa
    What team is this?

    I’ll have another warm beer please.

  • Johnny Feelgood

    I get so emotional watching this team. I mean, between McNamara, Mix and Pirlo they have the best hair on a team since the 1979 NY Rangers. Is anything more exciting than all that hair flapping in the wind on a baseball diamond?! Pinch me!
    I’m in soccer heaven —– Thank you NYCFC!

    • Bushwick Bil

      So true. I was telling my new girlfriend, you know, The pan asian chanteuse , that the team, with their flowing hair, reminds of the 1979 Rangers and/or the 1969 Jefferson Airplane. Watching NYCFC really feeds my head. They are no retro that they areally now and so now that they are retro, all with a Pirlo esquire style. So hip. So organic. So real.

      • Thomas

        Bill hug me