2018 Key Transfers: New York City FC

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at New York City FC and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

New York City FC had an impressive 2017 season, finishing second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve continued to build and improve since their inception into the league. They fell short at the conference semifinal stage of the playoffs for the second year in a row last season and they will now be looking to go one better in 2018. Some key players have departed the club and while the players they have signed might not be overly familiar to the masses, they look likely to make a positive impact.

Key Signings

Saad Abdul-Slaam: NYCFC have chosen to bolster their defensive options with the signing of Saad Abdul-Salaam. The right back comes in from SKC having played second fiddle last season, making just 12 appearances. He has experience of playing, and losing, in an MLS Cup final. This will be his fourth MLS season and this looks to be a good pick-up for Patrick Vieira’s side.

Jesus Medina: A new attacking midfielder who comes in for New York City to help the squad rebuild after some big names have departed. Jesus Medina has been signed as a DP and is a versatile option as he can also play on the wing. He’s known for a quick change of pace and footwork which have given him a reputation as a creator. That is something NYCFC are going to need considering both Andrea Pirlo and Jack Harrison have departed. At 20 he’s been signed for the long-term. One to watch…

Ismael Tajouri: Another young, versatile signing for NYCFC. 23 year old Ismael Tajouri is predominately a right winger can also play as a second striker. Vieira has sung his praises, speaking of his ‘power, pace and skill’ in one-on-one situations. With his ability to play in more than one attacking role it looks to be a signing with promise, similarly to Medina, to help fill the void left by big name departures.

Notable Departures

Andrea Pirlo: There isn’t much to be said that people don’t know about Pirlo and he is going to be a huge loss for NYCFC. He made a total of 60 appearances for the club, scoring once. Pirlo will go down in the history books as a designated player who was part of the first ever NYCFC squad in their inaugural season. His experience will be extremely hard to replace but now it’s time for Vieira’s side to build for the future, while Pirlo is set to enjoy retirement after a stunning career that’s seen him do it all.

Jack Harrison: This is a departure that NYCFC fans will be disappointed about. Jack Harrison has left for partner club Manchester City and has since gone on loan to Middlesbrough in the Championship. Harrison had a very impressive 2017, scoring ten goals in 34 games and he is going to be another player who is difficult to replace.

RJ Allen: NYCFC have said goodbye to another face who has been there from the beginning of their MLS journey. RJ Allen played 53 games for the club but has been traded to Orlando, to join forces with former NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis. He made 15 appearances in 2017, but only really established himself as a regular in the 2016 season. A good move for both player and club based on that, however he is still going to be a miss.

Mikey Lopez: Another midfielder who is moving on, Mikey Lopez will take plenty from his time at NYCFC. Learning from the likes of Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo put any midfielder in good standing to build on and now at 24 the time is right for him to look to push his career forwards. He made 27 appearances during his two-year spell at the club.

Khiry Shelton: Big things were expected from Khiry Shelton back in 2015 when he was the No.2 overall pick in the SuperDraft, but he has been unlucky with injuries that have lead to his progress being a little stifled. However, he has shown form in stages to suggest the excitement around his name is justified. He moves on the SKC having scored six goals and a further ten assists in his 54 appearances in the hope of locking down a more regular role that a clean bill of health should allow him to do.

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MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs Toronto FC

Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs (Eastern Conference Semifinal – Second Leg) – New York City FC vs. Toronto FC

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Sunday, November 6 – 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT) 

Match Odds: NYCFC 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Toronto 21/10

Match Preview

New York City FC welcome Toronto FC to Yankee Stadium on Sunday in the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal with a place in the Eastern final up for grabs.

There is a huge amount of work for Patrick Vieira’s side to do if they are to progress here. They suffered a sucker-punch in the first leg, conceding twice in the last six minutes to lose the game 2-0.

New York City FC fans will be behind their team from the off, they will be expecting their star-players to step up and be counted for.

One thing NYCFC have in their favour is their home form. They have been scoring freely at Yankee Stadium, eight in their last two, and they’re unbeaten in eight, winning seven.

Embed from Getty Images

As previously mentioned, Toronto FC have their two-goal advantage, which they wouldn’t have thought of having heading into the last ten minutes in the first leg last weekend.

Greg Vanney will be expecting his side to put on a professional display and not present NYCFC with easy chances.

While Toronto don’t want to be sitting back and playing a defensive game, they can expect NYCFC to come at them. They will get chances on the counter and with their strike-force it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them score.

If Toronto can keep things tight in the first half New York City will become even more desperate and mistakes will inevitably come, they have to be patient and make sure they get the job done.

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Team News

New York City FC to remain without both Connor Brandt and Shannon Gomez.

Toronto FC have a full fit squad ahead of the second leg.

Key Points

NYCFC’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

Toronto FC’s last five: L/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: New York City FC have scored at least two goals in nine of their last ten home games. They will need to repeat that feat without conceding to take the tie to extra time at the very least.

Key Player: Frank Lampard – Many will suggest the spotlight is on his teammate David Villa to perform, but Lampard has always been the man for the big occasion throughout his career, scoring vital goals. He will be a huge concern for Toronto who, like Lampard’s opponents throughout the last two decades, will struggle to pick him up when he is in the right place at the right time.

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Score Prediction

New York City FC 2-1 Toronto FC – Heartbreak for NYCFC who will fall at this stage. Whatever the outcome they have had a superb season and are making progress. Everything is in Toronto’s favour and they should surely be able to get the job finished off here.

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

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Sunday, October 23 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST) 

Match Odds: NYCFC 8/5 – Draw 3/1 – Columbus 9/2

Match Preview

New York City FC welcome Columbus Crew to Yankee Stadium on Decision Day in a game that can have an impact on more than just the final standings.

Patrick Vieira’s side will want to win to ensure their regular season efforts get the rewards they deserve, three points will confirm their hold on second place in the East and a bye in the playoffs.

Barring a 13-goal swing NYCFC cannot finish top of the East. They will just be looking to finish the regular season on a high.

New York City come into this one having practically blown their chances of finishing top with a 3-1 defeat away to DC.

David Villa, MLS: NYCFC vs. LA Galaxy

Columbus Crew have nothing to really play for in this tie. The highest they can finish in the Eastern Conference is 7th providing results go their way, so the pressure is off.

Crew will be hoping to finish the season on a high and spoil the NYCFC party. They will have the backing of both Toronto and RBNY, who will be hoping for Crew to win for their benefit.

Gregg Berhalter’s side come into this one having lost 3-2 to RBNY. It was a disappointing result but they showed great effort to make a game of it, as they had been 3-0 down.

Photo: @ColumbusCrewSC

Photo: @ColumbusCrewSC

Team News

NYCFC could be without four for this tie as Connor Brandt, Shannon Gomez and Frank Lampard are all set to miss out, while Ronald Matarrita is doubtful.

Columbus Crew’s injury woes continue, as Matt Pacifici, Ben Swanson, Tyson Wahl, Waylon Francis are expected to be out, while Federico Higuain, Cedrick Mabwati, Gaston Sauro and Ola Kamara are all questionable.

Key Points

NYCFC’s last five: L/D/W/W/L

Columbus Crew last five: W/L/W/D/L

Key Stat: New York City have won six of their last seven home games and scored at least two in eight of their last nine at Yankee Stadium.

Key Player: David Villa – The NYCFC goal machine has netted an impressive 22 in the regular season, he will be itching to beat BWP to the golden boot on the final day. He trials his rival forward by one heading into the game.

David Villa, MLS: NYCFC vs. LA Galaxy

Score Prediction

New York City FC 3-1 Columbus Crew – NYCFC to bounce back from their defeat, secure second place and finish the regular season on a high. Columbus Crew will make a good game of it, but with little to play for they will struggle to deal with the intensity Vieira’s side will come at them with.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. FC Dallas

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Saturday, September 17 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST) 

Match Odds: NYCFC 5/6 – Draw 5/2 – Dallas 3/1

Match Preview

It’s a huge clash at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings this weekend as New York City FC welcome FC Dallas to Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening.

New York City FC are sitting 3rd in the Eastern Conference, two points off top spot and five points behind in the race for the Supporters’ Shield.

Patrick Vieira’s side have been in excellent form at home, winning their last five. But, as the case with so many clubs in MLS, their away form is letting them down.

NYCFC come into this one having lost 3-1 away against New England. They need to bounce back here but face a very strong Dallas side.

David Villa, MLS: NYCFC vs. LA Galaxy

FC Dallas are top of the Western Conference and lead the way for the Supporters’ Shield. The result of this tie could have a huge impact on their chances of winning the silverware.

The away side won the US Open Cup in midweek, a huge boost which will give them the confidence to push on and finish the regular season in style.

Despite winning the cup, Dallas come into this one with off the back off a mixed bag of results in their last five regular season games. They lost to Colorado last weekend, so it is essential they do everything to avoid back-to-back defeats here.

Oscar Pareja needs to get his side in a focused but in relaxed frame of mind for their remaining five games, they have some tricky outings ahead and are relying on other results going their way to avoid being caught by Colorado.

Dallas beat NYCFC in their inaugural season in the only meeting between the sides. This is their first visit to Yankee Stadium and they know their facing a New York side who are capable of beating anyone on their own patch.

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Team News

New York City FC are in good shape heading into this tie. They are expecting to be without two as Connor Brandt and Shannon Gomez are both out through injury.

Zach Loyd remains the only injury concern for FC Dallas.

Key Points

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

FC Dallas’ last five: D/L/W/W/L

Key Stat: New York City have won their last five home MLS matches, scoring 14 goals along the way.

Key Player: Frank Lampard – The midfield goal-machine has been in incredible form of late, he has netted 12 goals in 17 appearance this season and has played a huge role in how NYCFC’s regular season has progressed.

Frank Lampard, MLS: New York City FC vs. Colorado Rapids

Score Prediction

New York City 2-1 FC Dallas – New York City FC to continue their home run and put more pressure on a Dallas side who will be desperate to avoid defeat. Dallas know their chances of winning the Supporters’ Shield could be in a ‘make or break’ couple of weeks here as they prepare for two consecutive away games.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC 

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Sunday, July 24 – 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 7/10 – Draw 3/1  – New York City FC 7/2

Match Preview

It’s the Hudson River Derby this Sunday as New York Red Bulls host rivals New York City FC at Red Bull Arena in a huge Eastern Conference battle between two fierce rivals.

New York Red Bulls welcome City for the first time this season, with the previous two meetings both coming at Yankee Stadium. The sides are tied with a win a piece so far this term. The latest meeting ended with a 2-0 loss for the Red Bulls in a result not many would have predicted after they thrashed City 7-0 back in April.

That 2-0 defeat a month ago was also the first time NYCFC managed to overcome their local enemies so this clash couldn’t be more finely poised.

Jesse Marsch’s side come into this one struggling for form, with just one win in their last six outings. The Red Bulls are sitting third on 28 points, trailing NYCFC, who lead the Eastern Conference, by five points going into the weekend.

It is away form that is troubling New York Red Bulls as they have been on a solid run at home. They’ve won six of their last seven ties and kept a clean sheet in their last six at Red Bull Arena.

New York City FC vs New York Red Bulls

New York City FC come into this one with the bragging rights over their rivals, as previously mentioned and sitting topof the East will only boost morale. But there is plenty of work to do to if they are to take all three points here.

Patrick Vieira will be pleased with how his side responded to their 3-1 away loss to SKC as they bounced straight back to winning ways with a 3-1 win over Montreal last time out.

NYCFC had the look of a side who believed they could overcome any opponent in that win last weekend, they were under pressure for large parts of the game but defended well and countered with great precision.

The New York City players will be hoping to further avenge the pain they put their fans through in that 7-0 loss at Yankee Stadium with a win in their rivals backyard this time around.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Team News

New York Red Bulls have just two injury concerns heading into the derby as Kemar Lawrence and Gideon Baah both remain out.

New York City have a bit of an injury crisis on their hands at the moment, as they could be without as many as six for this one. Connor Brandt, Steven Mendoza, Shannon Gomez, Ronald Matarrita and Khiry Shelton all look set to miss out, while Andoni Iraola has been training after suffering his ankle injury last weekend but remains a doubt.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five: D/L/D/W/D

New York City FC’s last five: W/W/W/L/W

Key Stat: Home form – New York Red Bulls have won six of their last seven home games in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The Red Bulls midfielder has a huge role for the derby. He will be tasked with keeping the inform NYCFC midfielders quiet. If he can stop the likes of Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo bossing the game his side have a great chance of winning this tie. Possibly an even more important task for the Red Bulls midfielder will be to keep service to the City stars to a minimum.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo Sacha Kljestan

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-2 New York City FC – This has the makings of a classic tie. Both sides are in form in one way or another. With Red Bulls looking solid at home and with City winning six of their last seven outings it’s difficult to see either side losing. RBNY know they have to win this tie to close the gap on their neighbours, while a draw for NYCFC will see them remain top of the East beyond this weekend. Score draw.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. New York City FC

Venue: BMO Field – Wednesday, May 18 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 8/13 – Draw  3/1 – New York City FC 4/1

Match Preview

Toronto FC welcome New York City FC to BMO Field in the first outing of a double gameweek for both of these Eastern Conference sides on Wednesday night.

The home side come into this one off the back of that exhilarating 4-3 loss to Vancouver, a frustrating result to take, but somewhat unsurprising as they never led at one point in the game. That loss was Toronto’s second in their last five games and their first home loss of the season, albeit only their second home outing.

Toronto face Columbus at home in the second of their double gameweek clashes, so they have two intense fixtures in the space of four days to contend with here.

Greg Vanney’s side are currently 4th in the Eastern Conference, trailing top spot by two points, but they do have this game in hand, so a win would take them top ahead of the weekend.

Toronto Celebrate New York Red Bulls

New York City FC are in fine form. They come into this tie off the back of their 2-1 away win over Portland, their third win on the bounce.

Patrick Vieira has made a great impact in his time at the club and as a result New York City are 2nd in the Eastern Conference, only behind Montreal on goal difference. They just need to avoid defeat here to go top.

New York City are unbeaten against Toronto since their inception, winning two and drawing two. They have scored at least two goals in all four of those games against the Canadian side.

Up next for NYCFC is the New York Derby in the second of their double gameweek matches – the first of four consecutive home outings for Vieira’s side, so they have a great chance of continue their challenge at the top of the East.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Team News

Toronto FC are missing three players for the visit through injury. Benoit Cheyrou, Marky Delgado and Jozy Altidore are all out. Altidore’s hamstring injury is also a huge blow for the USMNT as he now looks set to miss the Copa America.

New York City FC could also be without three for this tie. Connor Brandt is out, while Frank Lampard and Jack Harrison are both doubts. Mikey Lopez is one caution away from suspension.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: L/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Goals – The two sides have netted a combined 18 goals against one another in their four meetings in all competitions – an average of 4.5 per game.

Key Player: David Villa – The NYCFC talisman has scored four in his last three, showing just how important he is to Vieira’s side. They will be reliant on him to outperform Sebastian Giovinco to win them this game. Both forwards have had incredible seasons so far, netting eight goals each.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact David Villa

Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 New York City FC – In all four of the meetings between these sides there has been plenty of action with an astonishing 18 goals being scored. It has the makings of becoming an MLS classic and we can expect a real battle again here. Giovinco vs Villa is the matchup most fans will be relishing, so many will be looking forward to seeing this unfold and we don’t expect the two goal-machines to disappoint.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC

Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, May 15 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Match Odds: Portland 8/11 – Draw 14/5 – New York City 7/2

Match Preview

Portland Timbers welcome New York City FC to Providence Park this weekend in the second outing of a double game week for the home side.

Portland come into this tie off the back of their 2-1 away loss against Dallas, their second defeat on the bounce.

The Timbers sit 9th in the Western Conference, far from where they are expected to be and looking a shadow of the side who won the MLS Cup just five months ago.

Caleb Porter’s side have only lost one of their home games this season, winning three and drawing the other, so they will feel their best chance of pushing their way up the West will be near perfect form at Providence Park.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

New York City FC are in a strong run of form coming into this tie, they are unbeaten in three, winning their last two.

Their 2-0 away win against Dallas last time out was New York City’s second win on the road this season from four. They have taken six points from a possible 12 on their travels.

Patrick Vieira’s side sit 4th in the Eastern Conference, trailing top spot by two points, if they can continue their solid run of form they could well be challenging to top the East come the end of the regular season.

New York City met Portland Timbers once in their inaugural season which ended in a 1-0 defeat. This is their first visit to Providence Park and they’ll be feeling confident of coming away with a favourable result.

NYCFC celebrate David Villa goal vs Toronto FC on March 13, 2016.

NYCFC celebrate David Villa goal vs Toronto FC on March 13, 2016.

Team News

Portland Timbers have three injury concerns heading into this tie. Andy Thoma, Alvas Powell and Adam Kwarasey are all expected to miss out.

New York City FC could be without up to five players this weekend. RJ Allen is out, while Frank Lampard, Connor Brandt and Jack Harrison are all doubts. Federico Bravo is suspended and Mikey Lopez is one caution away from suspension.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ last five: W/D/W/L/L

New York City’s last five: L/L/D/W/W

Key Stat: Portland Timbers have already lost five games this season compared to 11 in total for the whole of the 2015 regular season.

Key Player: David Villa – The NYCFC forward has netted seven goals in ten appearances so far this season and will be feeling confident heading into this one having scored three in his last two outings.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact David Villa

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-2 New York City – Portland have had some promising performances at home this season but are lacking a little confidence heading into this tie. New York City are in a good run of form but have been hit and miss on the road so far in 2016. A draw looks a likely result here which both sides would settle for giveN their form respectively ahead of the game.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Wednesday, April 27 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: NYCFC 13/10 – Draw 5/2 – Montreal 19/10

Match Preview

New York City FC host Montreal Impact on Wednesday night in a key Eastern Conference clash, with the home side rooted to the bottom of the conference heading into the game.

NYCFC started the season well with a 4-3 win at Chicago, but they have not won since and come into this tie off the back of consecutive away defeats to Columbus and Philadelphia.

Patrick Vieira will be concerned that his side don’t seem to be improving. The club now have the same amount of points as they did at the same stage last season and there are few signs that the club is moving forwards.

MLS: NYCFC vs. Orlando Patrick Vieira

Saturday’s 2-0 loss in Philadelphia saw NYCFC fire just one shot on target and there is now added pressure on the club’s attacking players to deliver.

Montreal have been inconsistent so far this season. They’ve won four of their first seven games but have lost three of their last five, so there is certainly room for improvement.

They enter this game sitting joint top of the Eastern Conference and know a draw will send them ahead of Philadelphia for at least a few days.

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Didier Drogba has returned to the side after sitting out a handful of the opening games and he will now look to carry the team through the rest of the campaign, starting with his first ever match against New York City FC.

These two sides met three times last season, with New York City coming out on top with two wins to one. Both sides scored at least one goal in each game, though the Impact won the most recent clash 3-2 at Yankee Stadium in August.

Team News

New York City will likely still be without English midfield star Frank Lampard, although he is officially listed as ‘questionable’ along with Jack Harrison and Ethan White. Connor Brandt is definitely out. Mix Diskerud will hope to start after having to settle for a place on the bench on Saturday.

Montreal have three injury concerns heading into the game as Andres Romero and Cameron Porter remain sidelined, while Victor Cabrera is a doubt. Didier Drogba is set to spearhead the attack, with Dominic Oduro likely to keep his place on the right side of midfield.

Key Points

New York City’s last five: L/D/D/L/L

Montreal Impact’s last five: L/L/W/W/L

Key Stat: New York City FC have an identical record (1-3-3) after seven games as they did last season. They lost their eighth game last term and will be desperate to avoid the same fate here.

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – The Montreal playmaker has scored three of his four goals away from home this season and will look to penetrate an NYCFC defence that has conceded five goals in its last two matches. He has the quality to unlock any defence when on form, and NYCFC will need to watch him closely.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

New York City FC 1-2 Montreal Impact – This looks set to be another entertaining clash between two sides at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference table. New York City can’t seem to buy a win at the moment and their wait for a first home win of the season is likely to go on. Montreal may have lost to Toronto on Saturday, but they are a dangerous side and might prove too strong for NYCFC.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs Orlando City

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Friday, March 18 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT – Live on Sky Sports) 

Match Odds: NYCFC 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Orlando 23/10

Match Preview

New York City FC welcome Orlando City to Yankee Stadium on Friday evening in what should be a highly entertaining Eastern Conference clash between the league’s two newest franchises.

Both sides have started the new season without a loss and will hope to extend their unbeaten runs to three on Friday, although both will be out for victory.

New York City followed up their 4-3 win over Chicago with a 2-2 draw against Toronto last Sunday. That result wasn’t bad by any stretch, but throwing away a two-goal lead will have left Patrick Vieira feeling a little disappointed.

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The home fans will be hoping for three points from Friday’s game and will be confident, especially as NYCFC beat Orlando 5-3 in last year’s meeting at Yankee Stadium.

Orlando are still looking for a first win of the new campaign after back-to-back draws in their first two outings. Adrian Heath will be frustrated that his side failed to pick up a win considering both matches have been at the Citrus Bowl so far.

The dramatic 2-2 opening day draw with Real Salt Lake was impressive given how late the Lions scored their goals, but last week’s 1-1 tie with a 10-man Chicago Fire team was disappointing.

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Orlando now have the chance to take points off fellow Eastern Conference playoff chasers and will hope that their first road trip of the new season proves to be valuable.

These two clubs met three times last year. They drew 1-1 on the opening weekend of last season, before both clubs won on home soil. NYCFC beat Orlando 5-3 at Yankee Stadium before the Lions responded with a 2-1 victory in October.

Team News

Patrick Vieira will remain without the services of Connor Brandt, Jack Harrison and RJ Allen as all three are still nursing injuries. Frank Lampard is still a doubt but is edging closer to a return, while the same applies for Andoni Iraola and Jefferson Mena, who could both be back in contention. It will be interesting to see if Vieira goes with a three-man defence again, as he did against Toronto FC.

Orlando are still sweating over the fitness of Kaka. The Brazilian has yet to feature this season and isn’t expected to make Friday’s game either. Conor Donovan, David Mateos, Carlos Rivas and Bryan Rochez also remain sidelined.

Key Points

NYCFC’s form: W/D

Orlando City’s form: D/D

Key Stat: There were 13 goals in the three clashes between these sides last season – an average of 4.3 goals-per-game. Entertainment.

Key Player: Cyle Larin – The Orlando forward has started the new season with two goals in two games and looks as dangerous as he did last term. He now has eight goals in his last six MLS starts and will look to hurt a vulnerable NYCFC defence on Friday night.

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Score Prediction

New York City FC 2-2 Orlando City – This should be another high-scoring clash between Major League Soccer’s two newest sides. There were eight goals in the clash at Yankee Stadium last term, and while that total might not be matched, both will feel confident of hurting the opposing defence. It’s tough to separate them on paper and so a score draw looks to be the most likely outcome for this week’s opening game.

Podcast: MLS opening weekend, NYCFC’s defensive woes & West Ham discussed

In this week’s MLSGB Podcast, Zack Walford sits down with Louis East and Jamie Ives to look back at an incredible opening weekend of MLS action as the 2016 campaign got off to a flyer.

The team will discuss whether New York City FC should be deeply worried about their defensive struggles, despite winning on Sunday, and will finish with a look at in-form Premier League side West Ham United, who are chasing a top four spot.

Be sure to comment below, or get in touch on Twitter with your views on the topics discussed.