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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In pictures: NYCFC keep up 100% home record as Orlando City suffer fourth-straight loss

New York City FC handed Orlando City their four consecutive defeat, winning 3-0 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night. The visitors squandered a great chance to level the game from the penalty spot but missed that golden opportunity as their miserable run continues.

NYCFC’s victory made it six wins from six at home this season. The result saw them move into second place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Atlanta United.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored a brace to help the hosts to victory, with Maxi Moralez adding a late third to rubber stamp the result. But the biggest moment of the game came just after the second-half began, with the score at 1-0. Orlando were awarded a penalty when Alex Callens pulled down Chris Mueller inside the box. Sacha Kljestan stepped up but saw his penalty strike the post.

For Orlando City, that moment summed up their form of late as another concerning result leaves them clinging on to their playoff spot. They are still sixth in the East but are at risk of dropping further down the table after taking no points from a possible 12.

The Lions have suffered four-straight losses – all to Eastern Conference rivals – so Jason Kreis knows he need to turn their form around very quickly. They travel to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps next weekend, while NYCFC host Atlanta United in a crucial clash at the top of the East.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s game below, courtesy of Ashley Marshall:

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New York City FC vs Orlando City | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New York City FC vs Orlando City

Yankee Stadium – Saturday, June 2nd 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Preview

Saturday evening sees New York City FC welcome Orlando City to Yankee Stadium. Both the Eastern Conference sides are in an inconsistent run of form.

Patrick Vieira’s NYCFC come into this one having won just two of their last five games. As a result of their recent run they have lost a little ground in the race at the top of the East. Although they are sitting third, they are just two points behind the leaders.

Form at Yankee Stadium paints a completely different picture for New York City FC. They have won all five of their home fixtures and will be looking at this game as a winnable one.

Orlando City have lost three games on the bounce. They are in danger of slipping out of the top six and considering their form earlier in the season it will be disappointing for all involved.

Jason Kreis’ side saw their inability to find the back of the net when they are on top cost them last time out. They lost 2-1 for the third game in a row, this time at the hands of Chicago. In stark contrast, some clinical finishing was enough for Chicago to inflict that defeat on Orlando.

The Lions are hoping for the return of Dom Dwyer, they have not been the same side without him. The striker has six goals in the seven games he has played – so it’s no surprise they have missed his input.

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Team News

New York City FC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🌏 International Duty: Ronald Matarrita and Rodney Wallace.

🚑 Out: Yangel Herrera (ankle).

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Dom Dwyer (lower body injury), Scott Sutter (lower body injury), Lamine Sane (lower body injury) and Jonathan Spector (concussion).

🌏 International Duty: Yoshi Yotun and Amro Tarek.

🚑 Out: Mason Stajduhar and Chris Schuler(broken arm).

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Key Stats

New York City’s MLS form: W/L/D/W/L

Orlando City’s MLS form: W/W/L/L/L

Key stat: New York City FC have a 100% record at Yankee Stadium in the 2018 regular season. They’ve won all five of their home fixtures.

New York City vs Orlando City venue for their next meeting

MLS: NYC FC vs. LA Galaxy at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y., USA, on Monday, Mar 12, 2018. Photo: Ashley Marshall

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Prediction

New York City FC 3-1 Orlando City: Despite Orlando being in a difficult run of form there is encouragement for them as they are still finding the back of the net. NYCFC’s Yankee Stadium form and superior league position makes it difficult to see anything but a home win. No game is a given, but Orlando have work to do if they are to bring that 100% home record to a stop.

New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC

Red Bull Arena – Saturday, May 5th 2018 – 13:55 ET (18:55 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football (via Red Button)

New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC: Preview

New York Red Bulls take on New York City FC in the first NY Derby of the 2018 season on Saturday afternoon. Both sides have young, attacking squads and so this one shouldn’t disappoint.

The Red Bulls come into the derby off the back of last weekend’s 3-2 win at LA Galaxy. That was their first away win of the season and they now return home looking to make up for last season’s series loss against their fierce rivals.

After winning the first four derby clashes, it looked as though the Red Bulls were set to dominate NYCFC. But since then, New York City FC have won three of the last five MLS battles, including two last season in which they went unbeaten against RBNY.

NYCFC come into Week 10 at the top of the Supporters’ Shield. They bounced back from their away loss at Portland to beat FC Dallas 3-1 last time out and restore confidence heading into the New York Derby.

David Villa scored his 400th and 401st career goals in that win over Dallas. However he has yet to score a goal at Red Bull Arena in six previous attempts.

Their latest clash ended in the first ever draw between the two rivals, and Saturday’s game is expected to be a close-run contest again, with both these sides looking set to challenge high up the East this season.

New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC: Team News

NY Red Bulls

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Connor Lade (ankle sprain).

🚑 Out: Kyle Duncan (ACL surgery).

NYCFC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (hamstring), Ronald Matarrita (lower body).

🚑 Out: None.

New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC: Key Stats

New York Red Bulls’ MLS form: W/L/W/L/W

New York City FC’s MLS form: W/W/D/L/W

Key stat: Expect goals – There have been 32 goals in the nine previous MLS clashes between these two – an average of 3.5 per game.

New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC: Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-2 New York City FC: This one is really tough to call. NYCFC got blown away on their last road trip to Portland but that doesn’t usually happen and they will be well up for the trip to Red Bull Arena. The hosts are looking for revenge after failing to win any of the three games last season. If this is an open contest, there should be goals but expect the two sides to cancel each other out. Score draw.

New York City FC vs FC Dallas | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New York City FC vs FC Dallas

Yankee Stadium – Sunday, April 29 2018 – 18:30 ET (23:30 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

New York City FC vs FC Dallas: Preview

New York City FC are looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season when they host still-unbeaten FC Dallas on Sunday night. The visitors are the last remaining unbeaten team in the league but travel to Yankee Stadium as underdogs.

New York City got handed their first defeat in emphatic style, as Portland ran out 3-0 winners at Providence Park last weekend. NYCFC couldn’t handle the Timbers’ intensity and ultimately paid the price. It was the first time they failed to score in an MLS game since September (also against the Timbers).

Patrick Vieira’s men are expected to bounce back here. They are a real force at Yankee Stadium, having won all three home games so far this season by an aggregate scoreline of 8-1. However, they’ve still yet to record a victory over FC Dallas since entering the league in 2015.

FC Dallas haven’t really impressed all that much but the fact they’ve yet to lose shows Oscar Pareja’s men have the right attitude. They beat Philadelphia Union 2-0 last weekend to move up to third in the West.

It’s unlikely that Dallas will come out attacking NYCFC on Sunday night. Instead, they’ll likely look to frustrate the hosts before breaking with pace on the counter. A draw would still represent a good result for the visitors as they look to keep their unbeaten streak going.

This will be the fourth clash between the two sides and NYCFC are still searching for their first win over Dallas. The past two games have both ended in score draws after Dallas won 2-1 in the first-ever meeting at Toyota Stadium in 2015.

New York City FC vs FC Dallas: Team News

New York City FC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (hamstring).

FC Dallas

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Kellyn Acosta (sports hernia surgery), Jesse Gonzalez (finger strain).

🚑 Out: Brandon Servania (compartment syndrome), Jesus Ferreira (core muscle repair surgery), Paxton Pomykal (right meniscus surgery), Maynor Figueroa (right knee strain).

New York City FC vs FC Dallas: Key Stats

NYCFC’s MLS form: N/A

FC Dallas’ MLS form: N/A

Key stat: NYCFC haven’t lost consecutive MLS matches in just over two years – last losing two in a row in April 2016.

New York City FC vs FC Dallas: Prediction

New York City FC 2-1 FC Dallas: This could be an intriguing battle. Portland showed last weekend that this NYCFC team can be beaten with the right game plan and Dallas will undoubtedly arrive looking to frustrate the hosts. However, New York City FC have been far too good at home so far this campaign and they will expect to hand Dallas their first defeat of the season here.

Five MLS clubs set to battle for signing of former Liverpool and Chelsea star – report

Five Major League Soccer teams are set to fight for the signing of Spanish striker Fernando Torres this summer, according to Marca. The 34-year-old forward will be a free agent once his contract with Atletico Madrid comes to an end in June, leaving the former Liverpool and Chelsea star free to negotiate what will surely be the final move of his career.

Torres has been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League but it’s understood he is not keen on making the move to Asia. He rejected the chance to join CSL side Dalian Yifang in February and would reportedly prefer a move to the United States.

With no La Liga sides making Torres an offer at this point, and just a month left of the season in Spain, Torres is looking to MLS. The five clubs who are reportedly interested in bringing him to the league are Chicago Fire, Montreal Impact, New York City FC, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City.

A move to NYCFC would allow Torres to link up with former international teammate and good friend David Villa. The pair fired Spain to Euro 2008 glory as well as the 2010 World Cup title. New York City FC do not currently have a Designated Player slot free though, so Torres would need to accept being a TAM signing to move to the Big Apple.

Chicago and Montreal are the only sides of the five linked that have a DP slot available. It’s not certain that Torres would need to fill a DP slot, particularly at 34 years of age. But it will certainly help negotiations having that option.

The Fire are a particularly interesting option, given the fact that Torres played with Chicago head coach Veljko Paunovic during his first spell at Atletico Madrid. The pair spent two seasons together in 2003/04 and 2004/05.

On top of that, Chicago own the discovery rights to Fernando Torres if he does indeed move to MLS, according to league sources. The Fire have opened the 2018 season with just four points from their opening five games. They’ve scored seven goals but could undoubtedly benefit from partnering Torres with 2017 Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolic up front.

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.

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

Major League Soccer: New York City FC vs Orlando City

Yankee Stadium – Saturday, March 17 2018 – 15:55 ET (19:55 GMT)

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Preview

New York City FC welcome Orlando City to Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The home side are looking to make it three wins in a row as their former coach Jason Kreis comes to town. It is the first time in their history they have won their opening two games.

Last weekend should have been a far more comfortable result for NYCFC. Their 2-1 win against the Galaxy was a solid result but there is still plenty for them to improve on.

There can be no excuses for not killing the game off this weekend if they get into a similar position. If NYCFC are looking to send out a message to the rest of the Eastern Conference, they need continue their fine start.

MLS: NYC FC vs. LA Galaxy at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y., USA, on Monday, Mar 12, 2018. Photo: Ashley Marshall

Orlando City have had a rough start to their 2018 campaign. They have been blighted with injuries and have felt the impact of missing players. Despite preseason optimism after a busy winter of re-shaping the squad, the Lions find themselves in a tough position with one point from two home games.

This weekend should mark the debut for new signing Sacha Kljestan. That will be a much needed lift to the rest of a depleted squad. The former RBNY man will be out to prove a point and continue his fine run of form against NYCFC.

Some might find the all-time series standings a surprise. Orlando have won five of the nine meetings between the two, with NYCFC winning just twice. If Orlando can pick up their first three points of the season here it should kick-start what could be a very exciting 2018.

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Team News

New York City FC

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: None

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: Pierre da Silva

❓ Doubts: Stefano Pinho (right ankle)

🚑 Out: Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma), Dom Dwyer (quad strain), Josue Colman (thigh bruise) and Oriol Rosell (fitness)

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Key Stats

NYCFC’s MLS form: W/W

Orlando City’s MLS form: D/L

Key stat: Sacha Kljestan is back and due to make his Orlando City debut. The creative midfielder has ten assists against NYCFC from his time with New York Red Bulls.

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Prediction

New York City FC 3-1 Orlando City: Given the key players missing for the Orlando side and how NYCFC have started the 2018 season a home win looks likely. Patrick Vieira’s side will have to be careful not to allow Orlando too much time on the ball as despite absentees, they still have players who can have a huge impact here. Goals are expected but the home side should run out winners.