The where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
The when: Thursday, April 16th at 7pm (The Comcast Network)
The rich history between these two teams runs less than a week old. The stoppage time winner from Vincent Nogueira gives the 5-year-old franchise the early bragging rights over the newcomer. The Union dominated the game in the first half, with NYCFC influencing the second.
The game also stood as a morale booster for the Union players and fans with John "One of Us" McCarthy getting a win in his MLS debut, also known as the first game in the post-M'Bolhi era. He may not have been called on to make any outstanding saves, but that wasn't the important part. No matter what comes of future games against NYCFC, the first one will always live on in Union lore.
For the Union the biggest news is that Sebastien Le Toux, who had to be helped off the field with a deep gash in his arm from the electronic advertisement boards, will be available for the game on Thursday. The wound needed 5 stitches, but Le Toux was back on the field to celebrate with his teammates after the final whistle. He even managed to sneak into the goal celebration with his teammates.
For New York City FC it is less positive news. Mix Diskerud, arguably NYCFC's best player from the weekend's match, has been called up to the US Men's National Team for their friendly against Mexico in San Antonio on Wednesday. That means that he won't be available for NYCFC's match on Thursday. Not bad news for Union fans!
NYCFC press release confirms Mix will miss Thursday's home game due to USMNT call up.— Dan Dickinson (@GothamistDan) April 13, 2015
On a less confirmed level, it is still unsure whether or not Fernando Aristegueita's quad tear will sideline him for Thursday. The talk this week was about his hand injury, and that he was back in training, before missing out on the game with the quad injury. Turns out it was something that has been lingering, but not dealt with until now. Expect more news to come out on this in the near future.
Curtin says Aristeguieta has had a quad tear for 3 weeks— Kevin Kinkead (@KevinKCBS3) April 11, 2015
Keys To The Game:
- Don't let David Villa run at the defense - This was my first point of the weekend game and it continues to be the biggest key to playing NYCFC. For large portions of the game he can disappear, but all it takes is a single moment and he glides past two defenders and has an open net...just a hypothetical example.
- Protect the rookies - It hasn't been confirmed who will be in the net this week, but if McCarthy makes his second start, it will be of the utmost importance for the defense to protect him like they did this weekend. McCarthy was forced into two fairly easy saves, but the majority of chances were sniffed out by the hard work of the back 4 and 2 holding midfielders. More of the same on Thursday, please.
- Go at the fullbacks - Jeb Brovsky owes Mix a week's worth of fine dining after the amount of times the midfielder worked to save the left back from being burned by Ayuk. The young rookie turned and beat Brovsky time after time, but couldn't finish his runs without being thwarted by the US international. That safety net will not be there on Thursday. Even on the other side of the field, Williams is a big lumbering right back, but Wenger should be able to use his speed to get the better of him. Without Mix in the team the Union should look to exploit that absence as much as possible.
In my last prediction I hit the 2-1 scoreline right, but missed the mark by calling for an early NYCFC goal and expecting Aristegueita to net two, which was impossible with his absence. This week I am going with a 1-1 scoreline. New York City has been at their best at home and playing on the road, the Union will look to tighten up their defense and focus on that side of the game. For the fun of it, let's expect another late Union goal to rescue points. It's more fun being on that side of a late goal.