Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Venue: Yankees Stadium – Saturday, April 30 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)
Match Odds: New York City FC 11/8 – Draw 23/10 – Vancouver Whitecaps 2/1
New York City FC welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps to Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Both sides are looking to push for a playoff berth this season but have not been as good as they would have both hopes so far and so this could play out to be a great matchup.
NYCFC have struggled so far this season with their only win coming on the opening day against Chicago Fire. Patrick Vieira will need to pick this team up soon as they are falling off the pace with every passing week.
The form and fitness of their Designated Players will be key to sealing any potential playoff spot and getting Frank Lampard and David Villa into top form will be paramount. Frank Lampard will have to regain fitness first though as he is still yet to play in 2016.
Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw with Montreal will have left New York City frustrated once again as they conceded in the dying embers of the game but an immediate response is now needed.
Vancouver Whitecaps are not the same side that we saw at the start of the 2015 season as they are struggling to maintain form thus far.
One win in five has seen the Whitecaps drop out of the playoff spots in the Western Conference. However, the 3-0 win against FC Dallas last weekend – in which David Ousted produced one of the goalkeeping displays of the season – followed by the midweek draw with Sporting Kansas City has seen them regain a bit of confidence.
If the Whitecaps are to replicate their form from 2015, these are the sort of games on paper they should be winning and Karl Robinson will be expecting nothing less on Saturday night.
These two sides have only met once before, with NYCFC winning 2-1 at BC Place in September thanks to goals from Villa and Lampard, with the Spaniard’s 94th minute penalty sealing all three points.
New York City FC will be without Connor Brandt through injury. Jack Harrison (hip), Frank Lampard (calf) and Ethan White (hamstring) are all doubtful.
Vancouver Whitecaps will not be able to call upon Christian Dean (foot) or Deybi Flores (adductor strain), who are both out with injuries. Pedro Morales is struggling with a hip strain and may not feature.
New York City FC’s last five: D/D/L/L/D
Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: D/L/L/W/D
Key Stat: NYCFC are attempting to go unbeaten for four consecutive matches at home for the first time in their short MLS history, although they have yet to win at Yankee Stadium this year.
Key Player: David Villa – Having scored two braces already this season, the World Cup winner has shown signs of his immense value to this squad but he needs to produce more regularly. NYCFC will look to him for inspiration once more on Saturday and he will need to deliver.
New York City FC 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps – New York City FC have struggled so far this season and Vancouver have too, but having not won since the opening day leaves NYCFC lacking confidence and we expect Vancouver to capitalise with an away victory on Saturday.