Before the Game Preview, Congratulations are in order for Adrian Conoboy, the MLS Works Community MVP for 2018! Adrian has done incredible work and is an amazing representative of the club. You can find his nonprofit charity We Can Kick It on Twitter, and on behalf of the Third Rail, we thank Adrian for his unbelievable effort not only this All-Star week, but for years to come as well.
Now onto the match…
On Saturday, August 4th NYCFC returns home to face the Vancouver Whitecaps. As every fan must know, City’s undefeated season at Yankee Stadium thus far (10-0-1) will be on the line. The boys in blue will look to bounce back after a tough loss in Seattle last week, but luckily, NYCFC have not lost back-to-back matches in the last two full seasons.
With David Villa suspended due to his All-Star absence, the NYCFC attack will again be forced to adapt. I believe the best course of action is for Jo Inge Berget to start up front with Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Jesus Medina alongside him on the wings. Do not be surprised for Rodney Wallace or Ronald Matarrita to grab the start, and also expect to see newcomer Valentin Castellanos off the bench for his NYCFC debut. Although playing for most of the first half on Wednesday night in Atlanta, Alexander Ring is expected to start and play like his usual self next to his midfield partner Ebenezer Ofori. Maxime Chanot should reclaim his starting spot in the backline, and July’s NYCFC Player of the Month Anton Tinnerholm will look to attack and net his fifth of the season from right back. Lastly, the Injury Report released Friday informed the fans of Sean Johnson’s training injury sustained during the week, and from Domè’s comments, I believe that Brad Stuver will get the start between the posts.
Following their four game home stand that resulted in four victories, City split last week’s road trip, defeating Orlando yet falling to the Sounders.
Although losing four of their last seven games, the Whitecaps are coming off their most high-profile win of the season against the surging Minnesota United. Their away form has been quite poor on the season, however, losing their last three away from home by an aggregate score line of 9-1.
On July 5th of last year, NYCFC traveled to BC Place in Vancouver and lost 3-2. An early giveaway by City’s defense led to a Fredy Montero goal in the second minute. The game calmed until the 33’, where the patented NYCFC corner technique led to a scramble in front of goal, which was finally put away by Maxime Chanot, tying the match at one. Tommy McNamara won a penalty five minutes later, which David Villa buried, giving City a 2-1 lead into halftime. The second half was filled with Vancouver Whitecaps chances, with left back Jordan Harvey volleying an equalizer from a well worked cross. The game was all but over until Yordy Reyna scored the winner in the 88’ on a free header in front of goal. After leading 2-1, City left Vancouver without any points.
All-time Series: 2-1-0
A win on Saturday would place NYCFC one point behind league leaders Atlanta United in not only the Eastern Conference Standings, but the Supporters’ Shield race as well. NYCFC’s 1.95 average points per game ranks second in MLS, alongside the Red Bulls.
NYCFC: Maxi Moralez
At the All-Star break, NYCFC’s MVP has surely been Maxi Moralez. El Frasquito has had a breakout season thus far, tied for second in the league with his 11 assists. Moralez has also been the catalyst for City’s home form on the season, with his 8 home assists only one behind the league lead. Maxi plays all over the pitch, assisting in build up, speeding up the tempo in the attack, while also slowing down play with his 54 fouls suffered, fifth in MLS. Looking at advanced statistics, Moralez stacks up alongside elite company in 2018, ranking sixth in expected goals plus assists with just over 13. With David Villa injured for much of this season, Maxi has stepped up and has been more than City fans could have hoped.
Vancouver: Alphonso Davies
Rather obviously, Vancouver’s player spotlight will be 17 year old sensation Alphonso Davies. Recently sold to German super club Bayern Munich for an MLS record $13.5 Million with bonuses that total $22 Million, Davies lives up to the hype. Last week, the Whitecaps defeated Minnesota United, with Davies tallying two goals and two assists. The wonderkid is a sight to see, and the bright lights at Yankee Stadium may bring out the best of the budding superstar.
Goals: David Villa (8), Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (8), Maxi Moralez (8)
Assists: Maxi Moralez (11), Jesus Medina (7), David Villa (4)
Home Goals: Maxi Moralez and David Villa (5)
Goals: Kei Kamara (9), Cristian Techera (6), Alphonso Davies (5)
Assists: Alphonso Davies (10), Felipe (6), Yordy Reyna (5)
Away Goals: Kei Kamara and Brek Shea (3)
Follow Nick Fiorino on Twitter at @stretch_fio and The Third Rail at @ThirdRailSC. Interested in learning more about the Third Rail? Visit our website at thirdrail.nyc for merchandise, weekly game previews and more. Interested in joining? Click here.
Watch NYCFC v Vancouver on YES Network at 8:00 ET or Listen on WNYE 91.5 FM