New York City complete our home MLS regular season campaign with the visit of Orlando City on Sunday.
Here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Ford...
The Boys in Blue are back in action after a welcome two-week break.
The international calendar provided the chance for the squad to enjoy some well-deserved downtime and recharge the batteries after what had been a hectic period of fixtures, including two mentally and physically testing games in quick succession with the Campeones Cup Final and Hudson River Derby.
Struggling with an injury crisis throughout August and September, the squad were pushed to their limit with players rolling out three-game weeks, digging deep to battle off fatigue for the cause. This stretch will have allowed proper recovery time and will hopefully aid a near full-strength return.
Though Sean Johnson, Alex Callens and Maxime Chanot have been away on international duty, the rest of the squad were also able to clock some solid time on the training pitch, which had previously been limited with travel and the heavy schedule.
New recruit Matías Pellegrini and the younger players have now had the opportunity to gel properly, as the team look to experiment with tactical drills, perfect their technique and solidify relationships both on and off the pitch in preparation for what will hopefully be the maximum extension to the regular season!
That Winning Feeling
Nick Cushing's side entered the break on the back of an historic and unforgettable week, in which City lifted our second piece of silverware and comfortably defeated Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium to ensure New York remained Blue!
The celebrations in both games told the story of just how much the victories meant to Cushing, the players, staff and fans, who had endured so much in the previous weeks.
As the head coach said in the aftermath, that feeling is addictive and heading into the break on a positive note will have done wonders for the players' confidence, belief and team spirit - all crucial components to a successful side and major boosts for our trophy hopes.
Momentum is also key and if Cushing and co. can clinch that Playoff spot riding the crest of a wave with a string of wins, they can approach the post-season tournament without a hint of fear and ready to defend our title.
Sunday's clash sees fourth and fifth place in the Eastern Conference go head-to-head with New York sitting four points above Orlando with 49 from our 32 games.
Our playoff spot could be secured before kick-off, depending on the results of Inter Miami and Columbus Crew on Friday and Saturday respectively, while the Lions (who have played one game fewer) will be looking to force their way into the top four with home field advantage on the line.
We faced Orlando for the first time this season a little more than a month ago, as Tesho Akindele's stoppage-time strike snatched all three points for the hosts at Exploria Stadium, after Maxi Moralez had canceled out Júnior Urso's seventh-minute opener.
Moralez has an impressive scoring streak against the Florida outfit, having netted five times in total, including twice in the last three meetings - of which NYCFC are unbeaten in two.
Team news for both sides will be revealed later in the week with Cushing set to address the media on Friday afternoon.