Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. DC United
Venue: Yankee Stadium – Thursday, September 1 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: NYCFC 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – DC United 100/30
New York City FC welcome DC United to Yankee Stadium for a rare Thursday night MLS clash between two Eastern Conference sides with a lot to play for as we head into the final two months of the regular season.
NYCFC are still fighting for the Eastern Conference title, but failed to close the gap on Toronto as they fell 2-1 in Orlando on Sunday night, ending an unbeaten run of four games.
Patrick Vieira’s men have done well all season and need to make sure they keep their concentration for the final stretch if they are to be successful. They have enough experience in the team to make sure performance levels don’t drop.
They look to be guaranteed a place in the postseason for the first time but the aim will be to top the conference after leading for so much of the campaign. A win here would move them back to the summit with six to play.
However, DC will arrive at Yankee Stadium in high spirits after putting six past Chicago in Saturday’s 6-2 drubbing, keeping them in the final playoff position in the East.
Ben Olsen’s men are looking to make the postseason for the third-straight season, and while it hasn’t been the best of campaigns, they look to be coming good when it matters most.
DC United haven’t been great on the road this season, failing to win any of their last six away from RFK, but will fancy their chances here given their recent form.
This will be the first of three consecutive road games for the Black and Red so any points would really help their cause as we approach the final few games.
Thursday’s contest will be the fourth between the two sides since NYCFC entered the league last year. New York City won the reverse fixture this term 2-0 at RFK Stadium and also won the only previous meeting at Yankee Stadium last year, so they are rightly favourites.
New York City FC remain without Connor Brandt and Shannon Gomez, who are both still out injured. Star defender Ronald Matarrita will be away with the Costa Rican national team and won’t be available, while Maxime Chanot is with the Luxembourg squad and won’t feature either. David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard all remain available during the international break.
DC United still have a host of injuries to contend with. Chris Korb, Collin Martin, Chris Rolfe, Alhaji Kamara, Charlie Horton and Jared Jeffrey all look set to miss out, while Steve Birnbaum is the club’s only international absentee for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers. Patrick Mullins will start up front against his former side.
New York City FC’s last five: W/D/D/W/L
DC United’s last five: D/W/D/D/W
Key Stat: DC United are unbeaten in their last six regular season matches – their longest unbeaten run since May 2015.
Key Player: Patrick Mullins – The DC United forward bagged a hat-trick in last weekend’s 6-2 drubbing over the Chicago Fire. He has started life in DC well since joining from Thursday’s opponents, NYCFC and now has five goals in his seven appearances, making him the team’s leading goalscorer. It will be an emotional evening against his former club but Mullins is in great form and will be a real threat to NYCFC’s defence.
New York City 2-2 DC United – There is very little to choose between these sides ahead of Thursday’s important clash. NYCFC have won four on the bounce at home, but didn’t look strong in Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Orlando. DC, on the other hand, put in the best display of their season in their 6-2 win over Chicago and will arrive at Yankee Stadium expecting at least a draw. That’s the result we expect to see, although goals should be on offer here between two attacking outfits, who have both scored as many as they have conceded this term.