New York City FC
New York City comes into their Saturday evening match against Houston down and disappointed following an upsetting 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake last weekend. After the 2-2, 10-man draw against the Chicago Fire, City was hoping to perform at a higher level and put a stop to their exhaustive winless streak, but could not pull a point out of Rio Tinto. It was a match that reaffirmed the weaknesses of the team, particularly the back line, but also the finishing and health of the team. Help is seemingly on the way, with Frank Lampard set to arrive in July and the likes of Oguchi Onyewu in trial with the squad, but for the next few matches at least, the improvement will have to come from within. With Wingert missing training most of the week, it remains to be seen what the back line will look like, but anything closer to an average performance will be an improvement from last week and will be welcomed warmly by fans. Also interesting to keep an eye on is the substitutes used. Coach Kreis has, in recent matches, varied his selection greatly off the bench, including debuting Connor Brandt last week. As this team searches for answers, it wouldn’t be shocking if some changes were made to the starting 11 as well, but the only person who can attest to that is Kreis himself, the rest of us will just have to wait and see.
Houston (or How-stun, as it’s pronounced in the city), comes into their first ever competitive tie with the NYCFC boys with a record of 4-5-4 (W-L-D) and off of a loss to the LA Galaxy. Prior to the Galaxy match, the Dynamo had won two in a row and present a difficult opponent for New York. While playing one more game than City, Houston has allowed the same amount of goals and scored five more than the boys in blue. 12 of Houston’s 16 goals, however, come from only three players and therein lies a glimmer of hope for the struggling New York defense. If they can shut down Ricardo Clark (2), Will Bruin (4), and especially Giles Barnes(6), they will give the City forwards a chance to take a goal from a team that hasn’t recorded a clean sheet since April 11th against the Montreal Impact. Houston has a strong roster, led by U.S. Nationals DaMarcus Beasley and Brad Davis, and is coming off a friendly victory against City’s relatives, Manchester City. They’ll be a formidable opponent for NYCFC, but not an impossible one.
- NYCFC’s winless streak sits at 10 games, four away from the expansion team record of 14 (Vancouver Whitecaps, 2011)
- Houston has allowed exactly one goal in each of their last four matches, going 2-2-0.
- Brad Davis’ appearance against the LA Galaxy was the 350th of his career, 6th most in MLS history.
- The two teams met previously in the Carolina Cup Challenge preseason tournament, with Houston winning 2-1 and Mix Diskerud scoring a goal.
Injury/Discipline (O=Out, D=Doubtful, Q=Questionable, P=Probable, U=Unknown)
New York City FC: John (O), Taylor (O), Williams (O), Grabavoy (U), Calle (U)
Discipline: Suspended– Warnings– Watson-Siriboe (NYCFC), Sarkodie (HOU)
Projected Formation: 4-4-2
Projected Starting 11: Saunders, Brovsky, Facey, Hernandez, Allen, Diskerud, Jacobson, Alvarez, Shelton, Villa, Nemec
Prediction: New York has a hard time with a difficult opponent at home, but manage to get the point, drawing 2-2.
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Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Colton Coreschi