New York City Football Club welcome Real Salt Lake to Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Here’s the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…
After a long and exhausting start to the campaign involving significant travel and time away from loved ones, NYCFC will now begin a run of five games at home.
That run starts on Sunday against Real Salt Lake. The boys in Blue found significant comfort in their home games last season, with the Boogie Down Bronx a tough place for teams to go. Last time out, the team suffered a frustrating 2-0 defeat against Philadelphia Union, and the players will be keen to bounce back.
Setting an early statement at the start of this run will be important, and could be huge for the team as they seek to battle for supremacy at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Although Wednesday’s game against Seattle Sounders did not produce the result NYCFC wanted we did see some breathtaking soccer from the team in the second period.
The team’s equalizer was an example of wonderful team play and understanding between the group, and they went on to produce a number of similar, high quality, chances that tested Seattle and required the intervention of Stefan Frei.
The team has now set a high standard for the quality of their play and it certainly was not lost on Ronny Deila when speaking to the media after the game.
“We know what we can do at our best,” he said. “We have seen it in how they played today and that's how we should be playing. It was nice to see that it's back again. This is the team I know. This is how we are when we are at our best. This is the energy we have to come into every game with. We have to start to win football games again. If we put out this performance on Sunday, then they're going to play really well.”
Sunday will be an opportunity to reach that level again, and if they do, it will be enjoyable to watch.
Attack, Attack, Attack
One of the many positives of playing at Yankee Stadium for the players is the atmosphere that engulfs them on the day.
Many have spoken of how special it is to play in front of their fans and the impact that has on their play. The energy created should help propel the team forward, and as we’ve seen at points already this season, when NYCFC attack they have the quality to cause any opponent problems.
For that reason, Sunday should be about pushing forward and attacking from the opening whistle to give Real Salt Lake as tough a time as possible. Go into the game with conviction and the desire to attack and they will take a strong first step toward all three points.