KNOW YOUR ENEMY: New York City FC | 4.29.18

FRISCO – The season is in full swing and FC Dallas (3-0-3) remains the only team still undefeated in MLS. The team is finally finding its rhythm as the last two games have seen convincing wins over New England away and Philadelphia at home.

New York City FC (5-1-2) with eight games played so far this season have arguably been MLS’ other best team early on. Patrick Vieira’s team are coming off their first loss of the season with a 3-0 loss away to Portland.

Who Wants Possession?

As all of MLS has come to see, NYCFC is a very dangerous team in transition and the attacking half. They like to move the ball around quickly and find the holes in the defense to feed the likes of David Villa or Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. Their midfield trio of Ring, Herrera, and Maximiliano Moralez take complete control of games but that is exactly what MLS teams have been letting NYCFC do as of late.

Of the 10 lowest possession totals for teams this season, three have come against NYCFC. Teams like Portland are letting them have possession and sitting back as they chip away to no avail. Sunday saw NYCFC have 74 percent possession to Portland’s 26 percent, and yet the Timbers came out with a 3-0 victory. Vieira’s men took 13 total shots and only managed three on frame as most came from outside the box where they couldn’t harm Portland’s goal.

Key Match-Ups

Anton Nedyalkov vs. Anton Tinnerholm – Anton Tinnerholm has been a revelation so far this year being what seems like one of the best defensive acquisitions for any MLS team this season. Tinnerholm, who hails from Sweden and won 2017 Allsvenskan Defender of the Year, has managed two goals from only three shots on goal this season for NYCFC. FCD’s own Anton will face a great battle with Tinnerholm all night as both fullbacks will look to hold each other’s attacking qualities at bay.

Jacori Hayes vs. Maximiliano Moralez – Jacori Hayes is arguably one of the hottest players in MLS this season and he’s found himself joining FCD’s attack more and more. Sunday might see him sit back a bit more to keep New York City’s three-man midfield under pressure. NYCFC’s main midfield threat comes from Argentinian, Maxi Moralez. The 5-foot-3 magician is often fouled in dangerous positions and Hayes will have to watch for that.

Projected XI

New York City FC (4-3-3): Sean Johnson; Anton Tinnerholm, Maxime Chanot, Alexander Callens, Ronald Matarrita, Alex Ring, Ebenezer Ofori, Maximiliano Moralez, Rodney Wallace, Jo Inge Berget, David Villa

Keys to Three Points

This weekend’s matchup in New York might see FC Dallas “keep the zero” as the players have been saying and sit back to let NYCFC chip away to no avail. NYCFC is undefeated at home with a 3-0-0 record at Yankee Stadium and will pose a tough test for FC Dallas as their attack has been on fire with 16 goals forwarded so far this season. Before the Portland loss this past Sunday, NYCFC had scored in every single one of their games. FCD’s league-best defense will face a stout challenge against the fourth-best attack in the league so far.