New York City Football Club return to action this coming Sunday with the visit of San Jose Earthquakes.
Here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…
*Goal Frenzy *
If There was any uncertainty about whether NYCFC thrive playing at home you just need look at the two most recent results.
The team’s five consecutive home game run began with a 6-0 demolition of Real Salt Lake and was followed up by a pulsating 5-4 success against Toronto FC. NYCFC’s attacking pieces are fast beginning to click, and when that happens, they can be a formidable threat and one that almost any MLS defense struggles to contain.
Next up is the San Jose Earthquakes. The Quakes have only enjoyed one single goal game this season, with their backline conceding a minimum of two goals in seven of their eight MLS games this season. Even their impressive first win of the season against Seattle saw San Jose concede three goals.
That combination of a cavalier approach to defending and a potent NYCFC attack could swirl together to make an exciting affair with lots of goals.
*Maintain Momentum *
Head Coach Ronny Deila made no secret of the fact that five consecutive home games was a major bonus for NYCFC in their pursuit of finishing atop the Eastern Conference. Back-to-back home wins against Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC presented a lot of positives in terms of the team’s attacking output and their ability to adapt to injury.
Sunday represents the third of five home games, and it’s vital the team maintain their momentum. A win against the Quakes, combined with results elsewhere, could put NYCFC as high fourth in the Eastern Conference.
That opportunity should not be passed up, and with two home games after this, NYCFC could really kick into high gear with a big win on Sunday.
*Unfamiliar Foe *
San Jose Earthquakes have had an eventful start to the 2022 campaign.
Earlier this month the club’s long time head coach Matias Almeyda departed via mutual consent, and five days later the Quakes recorded their first win of the season - a memorable 4-3 victory against Seattle Sounders.
Alex Covelo is serving as interim head coach while the process to replace Almeyda begins in earnest. The Quakes have faced off against NYCFC five times in MLS, with the Boys in Blue winning four times and drawing once. Their last meeting was three years ago, and when paired with the change in head coach, it’s difficult to anticipate what type of team will arrive in New York on Sunday.
Covelo is clearly keen to maintain some of the tactical pillars that defined Almeyda’s memorable spell in charge, but he also keen to instill some of his own ideas. For that reason, the Quakes will pose a unique test for Ronny Deila and his players but not one that they cannot overcome.