Sunday, March 10th
On Sunday, March 10th, NYCFC host D.C. United for City’s Home Opener. After a disappointing draw last Saturday, our boys in blue return to the fortress that is Yankee Stadium, where City lost only one match in seventeen played last season.
Domè is a tinkerer. Especially at Yankee Stadium, City’s skipper will look to change the team’s shape and tactics throughout the match. With that in mind, I expect NYCFC to line up in an ultra-fluid and ultra-attacking 4-1-4-1, merging into a 5-2-3 in defense.
City is at full strength with Ronald Matarrita back from another brief injury, but I expect the backline to be unchanged from Saturday. With that being said, I do believe that Alex Ring will start where James Sands did against Orlando, just in front of the two centerbacks. At Yankee Stadium, however, Callens, Ring, and Chanot will likely form a back three at times, allowing Ben Sweat and Anton Tinnerholm to make overlapping runs in the attack.
Regardless of your opinion on the dimensions of Yankee Stadium, NYCFC are a much better team at home with a box to box midfielder, whose passing in the final third is essential to linking up the defense with the attack. I believe that Keaton Parks is the man for the job, grabbing his first NYCFC start in front of the home supporters.
City’s roster consists of a multitude of attacking options, it’s up to Domè to choose which to start. To make his decision a bit easier, I believe NYCFC will start with four true attacking threats on Sunday: Maxi Moralez, Alexandru Mitriță, Jesus Medina, and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. I expect Medina and ITS to play tight to the touchlines, forcing the DC defense to make crucial decisions once their high-press breaks down. Mitriță can play through the middle, but the fluid attack will find our new DP on the left for a good portion of the match as well. This season, I envision NYCFC at their best at home, when Mitriță and Maxi are given freedom in their positioning, with the rest of the attack high-pressing their opponents, preventing stars like Wayne Rooney and Lucho Acosta from possession of the ball.
Jonathan Lewis’ role this season is a controversial topic. Regardless, I expect Jonathan Lewis as a late game sub at Yankee Stadium this season, a role he thrived in last season in the Bronx.
Another possibility for City on Sunday is giving Eben Ofori another start after his great goal last weekend in place of Jesus Medina. At times last season, Ofori would begin at the left midfield role at home, dropping deeper into the midfield in defense, perhaps even man-marking one of DC’s many dangermen.
On October 21st in NYCFC’s second to last match of the season, City fell 3-1 away to a red-hot DC United. DC started the match in style, with Lucho Acosta’s tight dribbling leading to an easy finish for Rooney. Chances were few and far between in the first half for the Blues, and Acosta would soon make it 2-0 on a shot from just outside the box. A penalty slotted away by Rooney killed the match off in the second half, as David Villa’s consolation goal meant nothing for a City team with one win in their last nine.
Watch NYCFC v DC United at 3:00 ET on YES Network
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