The Bronx Blues' home debut occurred two weeks ago, but a jaunty buzz still hangs low over the famous, occasionally controversial green grass of Yankee Stadium.
The only team currently playing at this particular venue is undefeated, and sits atop Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference standings with three games in the bag. Today's opponent is winless, but brings more than enough class to steal a result.
Yes, featuring veteran U.S. internationals Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, Sporting KC has so much class that charter schools get jealous.
If you haven't already, be sure to check out Peter Axtman's scouting of Sporting Kansas City RIGHT HERE!
Despite the international break peeling off much of the top talent in the league this weekend, Besler, Zusi, and New York City's Mix Diskerud were left off Jurgen Klinsmann's roster. Luckily for MLS fans, those three will be fully-focused on this evening's tilt in the Bronx.
So, while Josh Saunders shaves his stubble with an acetylene torch and bench-presses a Hyundai to limber up, here's what we're following today:
HOW TO WATCH
To find the YES Network on your dial in the New York area, Click HERE.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
New York City:
The home squad will have to rotate today, with right back Josh Williams and attacking midfielder Sebastian Velasquez inactive due to injuries. In addition to winger Javier Calle, New York City manager Jason Kreis singled out Tony Taylor and Tom McNamara as reserve players that will need to step up their play amid injuries and -- in the cases of Adam Nemec (Slovakia) and Khiry Shelton (United States Under-23's) -- international call-ups.
RUNNIN' THE NUMBERS
- New York City has not allowed a goal in their last 180 minutes of play, tied for the longest streak in MLS this season.
- NYC fullback Shay Facey is suspended for today after picking up two yellow cards last week in Colorado. He is the first New York City player ever to be sent off during a match.
- Sporting KC will be without three players on international duty: Roger Espinoza (Honduras), Marcel de Jong (Canada), and Erik Palmer-Brown (United States Under-20's).
- SKC's twenty-four road wins between 2012 and 2014 are the most in Major League Soccer.
- NYC goalkeeper Josh Saunders has saved 92% of shots on target this year, only surrendering one deflected goal in stoppage time at Orlando City on March 7th. (Via MLSSoccer.com)
- NYC captain David Villa on scoring the first-ever MLS goal at Yankee Stadium two weeks ago: "It was one of the best goals of my career."
- SKC manager Peter Vermes, following last week's home draw vs. Portland: "I thought we were excellent on set pieces and very dangerous. We could have scored an easy two or three goals on the set pieces. Sometimes they don't go in, but to play like that, I like where we are at."
- Sporting defender Ike Opara on rotating the squad: "We've had three different lineups defensively in the first three games. We had a couple lapses."
- Jason Kreis on Josh Saunders, following last week's 0-0 draw at Colorado: "This is three matches in a row where I think [he has] really saved our skins."
- Kreis on whether he was surprised that Mix Diskerud was left off the U.S. roster for the international break: "I was very surprised, but you never know. I don’t know what the objectives of these two games are for the coach and what he’s looking to achieve or who he’s looking to look at that might be new into that program." (Via MLSSoccer.com)
MATCH THREAD RULES
Let's do it again! Overjoyed that you've decided to shack up with us today. Remember to tip your wait staff, mind the gap, and check out the rest of the magisteeeeerial news, commentary, and multimedia adventures up and down Hudson River Blue. While you're here, though, we have a few rules and regulations.
- Absolutely no links to illegal streams. They're bad, and Rafael will be deported back to Ohio as a consequence. Sam will be placed in a burlap sack and beaten with reeds. Seriously, though, they are illegal.
- We have rules against "relentless negativity." Nobody likes a Negative Nancy or Doubtful Derrick, even if the team gets off to a gruesome start. Don't knee-jerk and post outlandish or hurtful things just because you're frustrated.
- Along those lines, outright abuse of players or match officials is verboten. It's fine to say "wow, that's a bad call, match official," but it's NOT okay to direct copious amounts of abuse in the direction of said official over a call you did not like.
- Treat other people in the match thread the way you would want someone else to treat your grandmother. Be nice. Observe Wheaton's Law. This is a community of fans, not an un-moderated message board.
Finally, while we don't have a rule against profanity, any language that is sexist, racist, or homophobic in nature will be swiftly deleted and you may lose posting privileges. This is an open, supportive community.
Most importantly: have fun. Let's get a win today and remind everyone who run dis town.