New York City FC are in the Bronx on Wednesday to take on Pumas UNAM in Leagues Cup.
Here’s the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…
New kind of test
New York City FC have enjoyed a strong first half to the season, placing themselves above the line for playoff qualification as they chase down the Supporters’ Shield.
While tests of character have been plentiful during that run, the game against Pumas UNAM on Wednesday offer an all together different challenge. Ronny Deila and his staff will have prepared the players with scouting and data to know who their opponents are, but that does not mean things will be straightforward.
As our contributor for The Away End, Cesar Hernandez explained: “Pumas do have some difference-makers that could do some damage in the attack,” he said. “I though he isn't at his best at the moment, Argentine striker Juan Dinenno continues to be an aggressive No.9 that will at least have a couple of powerful headers on target.
“I'm a big fan of 21-year-old Mexican midfielder Erik Lira, who is very well-rounded and a vital presence near the heart of the XI. American Sebastian Saucedo can be hit and miss at times, but he's had a promising start to the season as a LM/LW.
“All that said, we'll see who is available this week. At time of writing, I haven't seen an official release on which players will be available and some reports from media have indicated that Lillini might add in a number of young players into the call-up.”
Our opponents arrive in New York in less than ideal form.The 2021 Apertura season has only just begun, but in three games Pumas have lost two and drawn one.
Given how early it is in the season that may not be a worry for most fans, but it could boost an NYCFC side looking to take advantage and advance to the next round of the competition.
For that they need to start quick and with intensity – two traits we’ve seen consistently during 2021.
Up for the Cup
One of the beauties of a competition like Leagues Cup is its format.
One game, ninety minutes, do or die. While that might feel like pressure, it could also be seen as a great opportunity to be expressive and enjoy the moment.
Ronny Deila and his players won’t lessen the intensity with which they play, but the opportunity to get back to Yankee Stadium and have a memorable evening against a side like Pumas is not something that should be passed up.
As fans of the game we’re always seeking the opportunity to make great new memories with our team, and Wednesday night could be just that, back in the BX, a place where NYCFC are unbeaten in 2021, scoring 15 goals in four outings.
Let’s get it.