On Saturday, September 8th NYCFC will look to bounce back in front of the home supporters when Wayne Rooney and DC United come to town. Four games without a win and arguably seven games without a good performance, City need three points. The form could not be more different between the two clubs, but anything can happen in the Bronx. With an expected crowd of 30,000+, City will certainly have the 12th man on their side.
A lineup will be hard to predict when a squad is short seven players. Ebenezer Ofori, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Maxine Chanot, Rodney Wallace, Jo Inge Berget, Jesus Medina, and Alex Ring will all miss Saturday’s important match. As James Sands proved Wednesday night, however, now is the time for players to prove their worth for the final stretch of the season and into the playoffs. I believe that last week’s diamond formation will make another appearance on Saturday, giving us a front three of David Villa and Valentin “Taty” Castellanos with Maxi Moralez behind. Without Alex Ring, James Sands should again sit in front of the back four, with Ronald Matarrita and Eloi Amagat on each side. A back four of Ben Sweat, Alexander Callens, Sebastien Ibeagha, and Anton Tinnerholm is expected.
Losing their first match in the Bronx in just under a full year on Wednesday, NYCFC are in horrific form. Losing two in a row for the first time since April of 2016, Domè needs to find answers.
DC United: WWLLW
DC United have won four of their last six games, and are coming off an impressive 3-1 win over Atlanta. Surging up the Eastern Conference table, a win over NYCFC would be essential to DC’s playoff hopes.
NYCFC: James Sands
Making his long-awaited first start for City on Wednesday, James Sands showed us what the hype was all about. With his calmness on the ball and head always on a swivel, it is no wonder why Domè has given him such high praise. Our #6 of the future will have a huge responsibility on Saturday with Alex Ring suspended and Ebenezer Ofori away on international duty. Likely the defensive head of our midfield, Sands’ play will dictate much of the afternoon for City.
DC United: Luciano Acosta
Although Wayne Rooney has been in the headlines, Lucho Acosta has been just as important in DC’s surge in the standings. With Rooney starting as a true Centre-Forward, Acosta now has the space and the service to showcase his talents, cultivated at Boca Juniors as a teen. Scoring twice against Atlanta last week, both assisted by Rooney, Lucho will be a clear danger. Although scoring all seven of his goals at home, his seven assists on the road is tied with Kaku for first in the league. Proving he can score and supply his teammates, Acosta will be the key for DC United on Saturday.
New York City FC:
Goals: Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (11), David Villa (10), Maxi Moralez (8)
Assists: Maxi Moralez (13), Jesus Medina (7), David Villa and Anton Tinnerholm (5)
Home Goals: David Villa (6)
Goals: Yamil Asad (9), Darren Mattocks (9), Luciano Acosta (7)
Assists: Luciano Acosta (10), Paul Arriola (8), Zoltan Stieber (7)
Away Goals: Yamil Asad (8)
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Watch NYCFC v DC United on UniMas at 5:00 ET or Listen on WNYE 91.5 FM