NYCFC set to take on Whitecaps

New York City Football Club are on the road this weekend as they travel to face the Vancouver Whitecaps.

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

Bounce Back

New York City FC knew they would begin the season with a busy schedule between Concacaf Champions League and MLS play.

Ronny Deila has embraced that situation and one of the undoubted benefits is the opportunity to respond positively to disappointing results in a timely manner. Vancouver Whitecaps endured a tough start to the campaign last weekend by suffering a 4-0 defeat to Columbus Crew.

That means both teams will enter this weekend with the intention of claiming their first win of the campaign and produce a response to their opening weekend disappointment. The last time NYCFC traveled to BC Place they recorded a 3-1 win thanks to goals from Héber, Gary Mackay-Steven and Alex Mitriță.

A repeat strike from the Brazilian would be a lovely way for him to kickstart his campaign, and in the bigger picture, start the forward momentum for the Boys in Blue in MLS. NYCFC only suffered defeat due to narrow margins against LA Galaxy, and if they can bring that same level of intensity and commitment to Saturday’s game it will go a long way to claiming three points.


In assessing Vancouver’s opening game against Columbus it is difficult to draw bold conclusions as the team were reduced to ten men early in the second half.

One consistent issue the Whitecaps did appear to struggle with prior to that dismissal was overloads - particularly down the right-hand side. Head Coach Vanni Sartini utilized a 3-5-2 formation against Columbus, but a series of dangerous narrow runs by Derrick Etienne Jr exploited space left by the defense.

Deila has consistently spoken of his desire for NYCFC to cause overloads down the flanks, and if they can utilize their left winger through the same consistent avenues that Etienne Jr managed to exploit, it could cause Vancouver problems.

The use of a back three system is well established in MLS. While it is a formation with many benefits it does present potential problems if an opponent can exploit the space behind the wing-back or wide midfielder.

Change It Up

As we mentioned Vancouver opted to use a back three system against Columbus last weekend and may do the same this weekend.

One facet of NYCFC’s tactical style last year was a flexibility that allowed them to maintain their core principles while adapting their system depending on the opponent.

The Brazilian defender Thiago Martins joined NYCFC from Yokohama F. Marinos in the offseason and provides another pedigreed defensive option for the Boys in Blue if they decided to match Vancouver up.

That tactical versatility was one of the many threats NYCFC offered last season and we could see an early repeat of that on Saturday – whether to start the game, or with a subtle substitution.