NYCFC seek to keep momentum going against Philadelphia 

New York City Football Club welcomes Philadelphia Union to Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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


Jim Curtin is the second longest-serving head coach in MLS after Peter Vermes.

That same sense of consistency shows itself in Curtin’s tactical approach. The 42-year-old has made only a few notable changes to his roster in the off-season, with Designated Player Mikael Uhre and Julián Carranza arriving as new faces. Elsewhere, Kacper Przybyłko and Jamiro Monteiro have relocated to Chicago and San Jose respectively.

One of the main consequences of those moves is keeping Philadelphia’s familiar 4-3-1-2 formation in tact. Curtin’s preference for a diamond formation facilitates dangerous opportunities in transition, particularly when their opponents play through the middle of the field.

As with any system there are weaknesses. In this case, the diamond can be susceptible to conceding chances from wide areas, especially when an opponent can create overloads involving wide players. Last season saw NYCFC face off against Philadelphia four times (three times during the regular season and once in the playoffs).

NYCFC managed two wins and a draw during that time, meaning they have seen the pathway to success against Curtin’s preferred style of play. They will also know the threats the Union carry, and that should make for an engaging tactical encounter.

Rotation Station

New York City FC will have travelled a little over 4,000 miles this week as they delicately balance participation in MLS with Concacaf Champions League.

Such a demanding travel schedule (a theme of this early season) dictates the need for squad depth and managing physical load. We saw this manifest on Tuesday in the quadruple substitution made by Ronny Deila. The Norwegian has supreme trust in his players and for that reason it should not come as a shock if Saturday’s game sees small tweaks to the team.

The important reminder for those chosen is that this is their opportunity to shine. Every player is competing for a starting spot, and balanced with the shared goal of team success, makes for a driven and determined group.

Changes may arrive against Philadelphia, but the expectation will be for the same high level of performance.

More Good Memories

“It feels like we’re a different team here at Yankee Stadium,” Malte Amundsen said after Saturday’s 4-1 win against CF Montréal. “We have some confidence, some comfort, that’s not easy to describe. Everyone loves to play here and I think it was easy to see we were happy to be back here.”

As Malte pointed out something special happens when the Boys in Blue inhabit the Bronx. While some of that can be ascribed to the amazing support provided by you fans, the intangibles at play make it a difficult place for visiting teams. It was fitting that last year’s memorable MLS Cup run started at home as it seemed to give the players a vital boost of energy.

The hope will be the team can do the same again on Saturday. Establishing good early home form is key in the Club’s pursuit of the Supporters’ Shield, and they will be keen to build on last weekend against Philadelphia.

Here’s to more fun memories in the Bronx, starting this weekend.