In Pictures: NYCFC stroll past Philadelphia Union in Eastern Conference Knockout Round

Maxi Moralez scored and picked up two assists as New York City FC strolled past Philadelphia Union 3-1 in Wednesday’s Eastern Conference Knockout Round. The result sees NYCFC through to the Conference Semifinals for the third-straight year. But it means Philadelphia are left searching for their first ever playoff win. A search they’ll have to wait another year to continue.

The game saw a repeat scoreline from Sunday’s Regular Season clash, which was also at Yankee Stadium. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and David Villa added NYCFC’s other goals on the night. While Corey Burke scored a late goal for the Union, which was little more than a consolation after a tough night for the East’s sixth-seed.

NYCFC will now face Atlanta United over two legs in the Eastern Conference Semifinal, with the first leg on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Check out exclusive photos from Wednesday’s Playoff game, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Ashley Marshall.

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Sounders win third straight with 3-1 victory over NYCFC to continue playoff push

Seattle Sounders FC made it sixstraight unbeaten on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field, knocking off New York City FC by a score of 3-1. Goals from Cristian Roldan, Gustav Svensson, and Harry Shipp helped to cap off a stretch of three games in nine days with maximum points from all three matches.

In both of his starts for Seattle, Raul Ruidiaz has shown his ability to draw defenders and create space for his teammates and has made the club much more dangerous in the attacking third. His first goal for the club in the midweek fixture in San Jose gave Seattle their first win at Avaya Stadium and only their second win in San Jose since joining MLS in 2009. On Sunday his presence and work rate in front of goal created the space that allowed his teammates to find scoring opportunities.

Making the most of those opportunities was Harry Shipp who finished the day with a goal and an assist. Shipp looked as confident on Sunday as he has all season, constantly winning the ball in the midfield with his work rate and making precise, dangerous passes to his teammates to stretch the NYC defence.

“The most proud I am is since I started playing again, we’ve been winning games and for me that’s what I take pride in,” said Shipp. “It’s not the goals, it’s not the assists, it’s about winning games.”

For the first time since the signing of Ruidiaz, coach Brian Schmetzer gave us a glimpse of what the team looks like with both Ruidiaz and Will Bruin on the field in a 4-4-2 and was coy when asked afterwards how much that formation factors into his plans for the rest of the season. If anything having both Bruin and Ruidiaz on the field at the same time gives Seattle a striker pairing that is able to be strong in holding the ball high up the field while also having the speed to get behind their opponents back line.

Even in this stretch of sixstraight unbeaten the Sounders feel like they still have improvements to make. Cristian Roldan after the match said, “The incredible thing about this [run] is we’re not playing well. We’re grinding out games, we’re winning these games because we’re playing good defense and we’re scoring one or two goals. And that’s the scary part.” Roldan specifically pointed to the first 30 minutes of the match where he felt the team needed to improve saying the team needs to be better in possession, create more chances and be less predictable in attack.

The Sounders next test will be Saturday, August 4th against Minnesota United who have been extremely dangerous since adding Darwin Quintero from Liga MX side Club America. Since joining the club Quintero has scored nine goals in 17 matches and turned Minnesota into playoff contenders. It’s going to be a challenging road test for the Sounders, especially for the centrebacks as they try and contain Quintero for 90 minutes.

Confidence is certainly growing for Sounders though as they fight to make the playoffs yet again. Schmetzer said, “We’ve discussed this a lot that we put ourselves in a really big hole and so we need to collect points. I don’t care where we collect them, how we collect them, we need to collect points because this team deserves to be in the playoffs… It’s just a question of can we dig ourselves out, can we get enough points to get in.”

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Atlanta United vs New York City FC | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Atlanta United vs New York City FC

Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Sunday, April 15 2018 – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

Atlanta United vs NYCFC: Preview

Atlanta United welcome New York City FC to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday night in what promises to be a thrilling battle between two of the league’s top sides.

The Five Stripes are arguably the most dangerous team in Major League Soccer right now. Yes, they’re four points off Supporters’ Shield leaders NYCFC. But they have won four in a row, scoring 13 and conceding just two.

Tata Martino’s side have put that opening day drubbing at Houston behind them and now look like they can beat anyone. Their 5-0 thrashing of LAFC last week further highlighted how dangerous they are, especially on the break. They scored four of the five goals in the final 23 minutes last week. NYCFC know they mustn’t commit too many bodies forward, at risk of being countered.

If Atlanta aren’t the hottest team in MLS, then it’s surely NYCFC. The visitors are unbeaten and have picked up 16 points from a possible 18 to start the season. They put in what was probably their best display when they beat Real Salt Lake 4-0 on Wednesday night, so they’ll arrive at Atlanta in high spirits.

Patrick Vieira’s men will welcome the stiff test Atlanta are sure to offer. But they boast a dangerous attack of their own, having scored twice in each of their three road games so far this season.

This will be the third meeting between the two sides. Both previous games ended 3-1 to the home side, and goals are expected again here.

Atlanta United vs NYCFC: Team News

Atlanta United

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Ezequiel Barco (quad strain), Franco Escobar (head injury), Jose Hernandez (quad strain), Mitch Hildebrandt (knee sprain), Greg Garza (right shoulder).

New York City FC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: David Villa (lower body), Alex Ring (knee).

🚑 Out: Kwame Awuah (knee).

Atlanta United vs NYCFC: Key Stats

Atlanta United’s MLS form: N/A

New York City FC’s MLS form: N/A

Key stat: New York City FC have scored at least two goals in each of their past seven MLS games.

Atlanta United vs NYCFC: Prediction

Atlanta United 2-2 New York City FC: Goals are expected again at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as is always the case. NYCFC have yet to lose and will be desperate to avoid ending that streak here. They will likely set up to frustrate the hosts and break on the counter. This one should be intriguing but ultimately, it could end all square.

New England Revolution vs New York City FC | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New England Revolution vs New York City FC

Gillette Stadium – Saturday, March 24 2018 – 13:30 ET (17:30 GMT)

New England Revolution vs New York City FC: Preview

New England Revolution welcome high-flying New York City FC to Gillette Stadium in the first of just six MLS fixtures on Saturday evening as a result of the international break.

The Revs should be feeling well rested following their Week 3 bye and will be looking to extend their unbeaten run at Gillette Stadium to ten games. They beat Colorado Rapids 2-1 last time out, giving Brad Friedel his first coaching win in dramatic style, with Chris Tierney scoring the winning free-kick in stoppage time.

The hosts opened the season with a 2-0 road loss at Philadelphia in which both centre-backs were sent off. But both Antonio Delamea and Claude Dielna return from suspension and will be available again here.

New York City have made a perfect start to the 2018 season. They are 3-0-0 for the first time in franchise history and come into this one off the back of a 2-0 win over Orlando City last weekend. That win was all the more impressive given the number of absences Patrick Vieira had to deal with.

NYCFC midfielder Maxi Morales (10) celebrates a second-half goal in an MLS game between NYCFC and Orlando City SC at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y., USA, on Saturday, March 17, 2018. Photo: Ashley Marshall

Selecting a team doesn’t get any easier this week though, as David Villa is still a doubt with a calf strain, while Alex Ring and Rodney Wallace are away on international duty. NYCFC have scored two goals in each of their three games so far, conceding just once. They will be looking to further stamp their authority down when they travel to New England here.

This will be the 10th MLS clash between the Eastern Conference rivals. The Revs have won four of the previous nine games, with NYCFC taking three victories. The Revs won the most recent meeting 2-1 back in October at Gillette Stadium. NYCFC had won by the same scoreline at Yankee Stadium two months before that, while they also played out a 2-2 draw in New York last June.

New England Revolution vs New York City FC: Team News

New England Revolution

🌎 International duty: Krisztian Nemeth (Hungary)

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Gabriel Somi (concussion), Zachary Herivaux (ankle).

🚑 Out: None.

New York City FC

🌎 International duty: Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica), Alex Ring (Finland)

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: David Villa (calf).

🚑 Out: Ronald Matarrita (hamstring).

New England Revolution vs New York City FC: Key Stats

New England Revolution’s MLS form: L/W

NYCFC’s MLS form: W/W/W

Key stat: There has been a red card in each of the four games between these two sides at Gillette Stadium. The Revs have picked up one of those. But NYCFC have had a man sent off in three of their four trips to Foxborough.

New England Revolution vs New York City FC: Prediction

New England Revolution 2-2 NYCFC: There are usually goals when these two sides face off. The Revs should be fresh following their bye week and have had a long time to prepare for a dangerous NYCFC side. The worry for Vieira’s men is that David Villa may miss out again here, while the absence of Alex Ring in midfield will be noticeable. Both sides will fancy their chances but it’s hard to see NYCFC getting beaten. Score draw.

MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 2 – NYCFC defender shines on home debut

For every week of the 2018 MLS season, MLSGB will award two Player of the Week accolades to the previous gameweek’s standout performers. We will highlight one star attacking player, as well as the leading defensive performer from the last round of fixtures. The Attacking Player of the Week award can be won by strikers, wingers and advanced midfielders. While the Defensive Player of the Week award can be won by goalkeepers, defenders and defensive midfielders.

Strong defensive performances were hard to come by in Week 2 as goals flew in across the league. There were a total of 38 goals in the nine games (an average of 4.2 per match) and so this week’s MLSGB Defensive Player of the Week award goes to a defender for his contributions at both ends of the field. It goes to New York City FC full-back Anton Tinnerholm, who opened the scoring on his home debut, helping NYCFC to a 2-1 win over LA Galaxy on Sunday.

The Swedish defender has played every minute of NYCFC’s opening two games, helping the team to two wins. He joined the club on a free transfer this winter, after his contract with Malmo FF expired following the 2017 season. He is the reigning 2017 Allsvenskan Defender of the Year after he played a key role in helping Malmo to win back-to-back titles last October.

And he has seemingly transferred his form to MLS without any trouble. Sunday saw him play at Yankee Stadium for the first time and he made sure he ceased the moment, volleying NYCFC into the lead before helping to stop LA Galaxy from getting anything out of the game as they mounted a second-half challenge.

As shown above, Tinnerholm was influential at both ends of the field. He made three clearances and three interceptions to keep the Galaxy at bay, while completing 47 of his 60 passes. Only three players completed more passes than Tinnerholm in the entire game.

Tinnerholm’s performance was all the more impressive considering he was left in a heap 10 minutes into the game following a tough tackle from Jonathan Dos Santos. The Sweden international appeared to roll his ankle in a nasty looking incident but returned to the action, scoring the opening goal 13 minutes later and lasted the full 90 minutes.

An in-depth look at Anton Tinnerholm’s performance in NYCFC’s 2-1 win over LA Galaxy in Week 2 (stats via @StatsZone app)

The image above demonstrates how good Tinnerholm was for NYCFC down the right side. He was disciplined, rarely venturing deep into Galaxy territory but was effective in dealing with the threat down LA’s left wing.

His three clearances (the green circles) came in vital positions, while his interceptions (green diamonds) also gave NYCFC the opportunity to turn defence into attack in an instant.

Don’t miss – MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 2

Tinnerholm’s performance will have delighted the NYCFC fans and they will hope to see him pick up where he left off when they welcome Orlando City to Yankee Stadium next Saturday.

In pictures: NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy – Cole sent off as Villa scores decisive goal in 100th appearance

NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy – All eyes were on Yankee Stadium on Sunday evening as New York City FC welcomed LA Galaxy for their home opener. Both sides came into the contest following Week 1 victories but it was NYCFC who made it two wins from two, beating LA 2-1 in David Villa’s 100th match for the club.

New York City started brightly and were rewarded when winter signing Anton Tinnerhom rifled a shot in off the crossbar following good work from Jesus Medina and Villa. The Spaniard’s cross was blocked by Michael Ciani but only into the path of Tinnerholm, who volleyed in off the bar after 22 minutes.

NYCFC then doubled their lead in the 33rd minute, as Villa celebrated his 100th NYCFC appearance with a goal. The hosts raced away on a counter-attack led by Jesus Medina. He played in Ben Sweat, who saw his effort saved by David Bingham straight into the path of Villa who simply tapped home.

LA Galaxy improved after halftime and got a goal back on the hour-mark through Jonathan Dos Santos. But they couldn’t get the equaliser despite pressing for most of the second-half.

Their chances took a major blow in the late stages as captain Ashley Cole was sent off for a second yellow card offence for seemingly tripping David Villa. The game ended NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy as New York City FC keep their perfect start to the season on track.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Ashley Marshall.

NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy: In Pictures

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New York City FC vs LA Galaxy | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New York City FC vs LA Galaxy

Yankee Stadium – Sunday, March 11 2018 – 17:00 ET (21:00 GMT)

Live on Sky Sports Football (UK)

New York City FC vs LA Galaxy: Preview

New York City FC welcome LA Galaxy to Yankee Stadium for their home opener on Sunday evening in what is probably the standout MLS fixture of Week 2. Both sides picked up wins on opening weekend and will be looking to make it two from two here.

NYCFC impressed a lot of people with the way they went about beating Sporting Kansas City last weekend. It’s not an easy place to visit by Patrick Vieira’s men countered really well and came away with all three points and a clean sheet. Jesus Medina impressed on his debut and got himself a goal too. The only negative was the late red card shown to Maxime Chanot, meaning the defender won’t be available here.

NYCFC will be expecting to make it two wins from two. The home fans will be excited for their home opener and know the squad has the quality to be one of, if not the best teams in MLS this season. Beating the Galaxy on Sunday would further emphasise that.

LA Galaxy got their season off to the right start too, as they beat Western Conference rivals Portland 2-1 at StubHub Center. That win was much needed for Sigi Schmid and his team after their disastrous 2017 campaign. Ola Kamara scored on his debut and got off to the perfect start.

The Galaxy still need time to get back to their absolute best but the early signs were promising. Defensively they looked better but NYCFC have a lot of quality for the LA defenders to deal with. The major blow for the Galaxy is the loss of Romain Alessandrini. The Frenchman picked up a hamstring injury last week and is ruled out as a result.

Sunday’s clash will be just the fourth meeting between the two sides. The only previous game at Yankee Stadium saw NYCFC run out 1-0 winners thanks to an early David Villa goal. The Spaniard also scored in last year’s clash, netting a fine left-footed strike to seal a 2-0 win at StubHub Center. This weekend’s game will be Villa’s 100th for the club. He’s scored an incredible 65 goals and added 22 assists in his 99 appearances so far.

New York City FC vs LA Galaxy: Team News

New York City FC

❌ Suspensions: Maxime Chanot (red card)

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Jo Inge Berget (thigh)

LA Galaxy

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts:Chris Pontius (knock)

🚑 Out: Romain Alessandrini (hamstring)

New York City FC vs LA Galaxy: Key Stats

NYCFC’s MLS form: W

LA Galaxy’s MLS form: W

Key stat: New York City FC only lost two home games during the regular season last year, although one of those losses came in their final regular season game at Yankee Stadium as Portland left with a 1-0 win.

New York City FC vs LA Galaxy: Prediction

New York City FC 3-1 LA Galaxy: Both sides like to play free-flowing, attractive football and that should lead to a great spectacle. NYCFC may struggle with the absence of Chanot in defence, although LA Galaxy’s chances of capitalising on his loss have been negated by the injury to Alessandrini. Goals are expected but NYCFC look poised to make it six points as they take to the field at home for the first time this season.

NYCFC losing Jack Harrison to Man City in £4m deal ahead of loan move to Middlesbrough

Jack Harrison’s time with New York City FC looks to be over. The talented young English winger landed in the United Kingdom on Tuesday morning ahead of a £4 million dealthat will see him join NYCFC’s parent club, Manchester City.

But Harrison’s travels don’t stop there. He is expected to immediately be loaned out to Championship side Middlesbrough, who are now managed by Tony Pulis. Harrison will remain at the Riverside until the summer, when he is expected to join up with the Man City squad for preseason training.

The loss of Harrison will be a major blow to NYCFC. The 21-year-old winger has developed incredibly well under the guidance of Patrick Vieira and has learnt an enormous amount from teammates such as David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo.

But his impressive displays have come at a price for New York City FC fans. And that price is £4 million. Harrison will no longer be preparing for what would have been his third MLS season. Instead, he will be thrust straight into the middle of Middlesbrough’s Championship campaign.

Boro are currently eighth in the second tier of English football but are in the playoff race, as they sit just four points outside the top six with 18 games to play. They will be hoping the addition of Harrison can help to inspire them to a Premier League return at the first time of asking following last season’s relegation.

Harrison was also a target of Stoke City, but the Potters weren’t prepared to match NYCFC’s valuation for the player this month. As a result the former Manchester United academy attacker will join Manchester City after seven years in the United States.

In total, Jack Harrison scored 14 goals in 59 MLS games for NYCFC, assisting a further 13 goals over the past two seasons. He was a key part of the New York City squad but they will have to now prepare for life without the exciting young Englishman.

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs Columbus Crew

2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Semifinal (Second-Leg): New York City FC vs Columbus Crew

Yankee Stadium – Sunday, November 5 – 17:00 ET (22:00 GMT)

Match Odds: NYCFC 7/10 – Draw 3/1 – Columbus 16/5

New York City FC vs Columbus Crew: Preview

New York City FC need something special to get past Columbus Crew SC in Sunday’s Eastern Conference Semifinal second leg. The Crew lead 4-1 after a thrilling first-leg tie at MAPFRE stadium and have one foot in the Conference Final.

NYCFC are on the verge of exiting the playoffs at the same stage as last year, in similarly crushing circumstances. They went out 7-0 on aggregate to Toronto last season. They’ve now played three MLS Cup Playoff games and lost all of them convincingly.

Patrick Vieira’s men have injury worries, which aren’t helping. But the main problem appears to be that the club and the squad aren’t ready for the intensity that comes with playing in the playoffs.

The positive for New York City is that they created chances in the first leg and could have had a few more goals. A 3-0 win would see them advance but they are unlikely to keep the Crew out, so they’re going to need a whole host of goals to have a chance.

Columbus will still be riding high following that emotionally-charged win in the first-leg. They came into the playoffs as underdogs but have already eliminated Atlanta and are one game away from making the Conference Final.

Gregg Berhalter has his side playing with confidence and playing for the fans, given the uncertainty that surrounds the team’s future. They will look to soak up the inevitable pressure from NYCFC before hitting them on the break. Expect goals.

New York City FC vs Columbus Crew: Team News

Gregg Berhalter is without four players for the trip to Yankee Stadium. Alex Crognale, Gaston Sauro, Connor Maloney and Ben Swanson are all ruled out. But an unchanged lineup is likely to be named. Hector Jimenez, Artur and Josh Williams are all one booking away from suspension.

New York City FC remain without long-term absentees Miguel Camargo and Maxime Chanot. Alexander Callens is suspended and won’t feature.

New York City FC vs Columbus Crew: Key Points

New York City FC last five: W/D/L/D/L

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/W/D/W/W

Key Stat: Columbus Crew have lost their last six consecutive road games in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Key Player: David Villa – The NYCFC star got the potentially important away goal at MAPFRE Stadium. He has 23 goals in 32 total games this season and will be the man tasked with keeping NYCFC’s dreams alive.

New York City FC vs Columbus Crew: Prediction

New York City FC 3-2 Columbus Crew – NYCFC have yet to win a playoff game but doing so would give them something to build from. A big win could see them through against the odds, but it’s highly unlikely they’ll shut the Crew out. Columbus have goals in them and should manage to advance, although there should be drama on the way.

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs New York City FC

2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Semifinal (1st Leg): Columbus Crew vs New York City FC

MAPFRE Stadium – Tuesday, October 1 – 20:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Columbus Crew 21/20 – Draw 5/2  – NYCFC 9/4

Columbus Crew vs New York City FC: Preview

Columbus Crew welcome New York City FC to MAPFRE Stadium for what promises to be a thrilling Eastern Conference Semifinal showdown. One of these sides is 180 minutes away from a place in the Conference Final. The other will be sent packing.

Few people believed Columbus would make it to this stage. They travelled to Atlanta as underdogs for their Knockout Round clash last Thursday. But they prevailed on penalties after a dramatic 120 minutes of action, in which the woodwork was hit three times in total.

The Crew are riding high. They’ve not lost in 11 and have won six of their last seven at home. This will be the first game at MAPFRE Stadium since the news of a possible relocation to Austin surfaced a couple of weeks ago. So expect an emotional atmosphere for Tuesday’s clash.

NYCFC have had over a week to prepare for this game. They rounded off the regular season with a 2-2 draw against the Crew at Citi Field. They come into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the East, but they cannot take Columbus for granted.

New York City FC’s recent form will concern Patrick Vieira. They only won one of their last seven regular season outings and don’t come into the playoffs in the highest of spirits.

However, they knew for a long while that they’d be playing postseason soccer. And they need their stars to shine at this stage. Particularly after last year’s humiliating playoff exit to Toronto.

Another boost for the visitors could be that they picked up their first ever away win at Columbus earlier in the campaign. That 3-2 win back in April was then followed by that 2-2 draw at Citi Field on Decision Day.

Columbus Crew vs New York City FC: Team News

Gregg Berhalter is unlikely to make any changes to the starting XI from the win in Atlanta. They did go 120 minutes but they’ve had four days to recover and should be fresh to go here. Alex Crognale, Gaston Sauro and Ben Swanson are all ruled out.

New York City FC have just two players ruled out as they begin their playoff campaign. Miguel Camargo and Maxime Chanot remain sidelined and won’t play again this year.

Columbus Crew vs New York City FC: Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/W/W/D/W

NYCFC’s last five: D/W/D/L/D

Key Stat: There have been 32 goals in the seven previous meetings between the two sides. That’s an average of 4.5 per game. Neither side has ever kept a clean sheet against the other.

Key Player: Zach Steffen – The Crew’s penalty shootout hero from Thursday night comes into the game in great form. He also saved David Villa’s stoppage time penalty in the 2-2 draw against NYCFC last week. So if he can keep his form up, the visitors might struggle to break through.

Columbus Crew vs New York City FC: Prediction

Columbus Crew 3-1 New York City FC – Making a football prediction for a game as big as this is always difficult. But it’s impossible to see the Crew’s fine form ending in Tuesday’s first leg. NYCFC know they have to keep the tie as close as possible and might set up for a draw ahead of the return leg. But Columbus have attacking weapons that will be looking to hurt them. An early goal could blow the game wide open, and we’re expecting goals. But the Crew look set to edge it, given their impressive hot streak.