NYCFC hits road to face Nashville

NYCFC battles Nashville on Friday night.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

New York City FC are on the road Friday night as they face off against Nashville SC.

Here’s the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…

Defensive Reshuffle

New York City FC have kept three clean sheets in their last five MLS games, but Friday’s game will be a test of the team’s defensive depth.

Maxime Chanot, Alex Callens, Gudi Thórarinsson and James Sands have all departed for international duty, and that leaves just Anton Tinnerholm and Sean Johnson from the back five that started the team’s victory against New England Revolution.

The Club has several options for each position and that will give these players a perfect opportunity to stake their claim for more regular minutes.

Ronny Deila has consistently challenged the group to push each other and maintain an intensity, and the main reason behind that is so that any player stepping into the fold feels ready and prepared.

A trip to third placed Nashville is no easy task, but from that discomfort, hopefully the players called upon can grow and continue their development with the club.

Watch Out For Mukhtar

When it comes to Nashville SC’s attacking output, Hany Mukhtar is a central figure.

The former German youth international joined Nashville as the club’s first designated player, and currently has eight goals and eight assists on the season. A goalscoring threat, Mukhtar is not afraid to roam around the field and find the game.

A good example of this can be seen during Nashville’s win against Atlanta United. In the build-up to Nashville’s opener Mukhtar hangs deep to give the team an extra man in midfield. That draws the Atlanta midfielder out to close him down and creates space for Daniel Lovitz to move into and assist Daniel Rios.

*International Adjustments *

It won’t just be NYCFC that are missing players on Friday night as both sides try to adjust to gaps left by the FIFA window. 

Our opponents Nashville SC will be without four players – Walker Zimmerman, Alistair Johnston, Anibal Godoy, and Randall Leal – and that will force Head Coach Gary Smith into some tactical adjustments. 

NYCFC are keen to secure their first away win since the end of May, and the unpredictable nature of the starting XIs could not only make this an entertaining affair, but also one that’s hard to predict. 

This group has faced tests of character throughout this campaign, and Friday will be another example of that.