The last time these squads met, Jermaine Jones was injured and Frank Lampard had yet to log a single minute for New York City.
It may appear, then, that not much has changed since New York City's famous 2-0 victory at the Historic Home Opener on March 15th. But that isn't strictly true.
On that massive day, we had yet to join the Cult of McNamara, and we were ignorant of the punishing prowess of Poku. On that massive day, New York City had yet to lose a game.
What soon followed was an eleven-game winless skid. Following that, an impressive run that has seen the team drop just a single league game since May 24th. David Villa re-discovered the net. New signings have bolstered an ever-shuffling back four. Hey, R.J. Allen doesn't start anymore!
But even as Jason Kreis & Co. pivot toward a second pass at the Revs, we still don't know a heck of a lot about New York City FC.
What we do know: the egregious turf playing surface at Foxborough's Gillette Stadium is perhaps the only MLS field held in worse regard than the Frankenstein'd mish-mash that New York City tramples every other week in the Bronx. For MLS's initiated, however, that's just all in the game.
(But for a pampered Premier League power-player like Frank Lampard? Crap turf plus a tweaked calf amount to a bridge too far. Once again-again, the star man won't be available for selection.)
Today, new fullbacks Andoni Iraola and Jose "Angelino" Tasende, who both made their MLS debuts in last weekend's outrageous 4-4 Toronto affair, will have their hands full with New England's manifold attack. Tricky number ten Lee Nguyen, who missed the March fixture due to injury, will conduct the orchestra as scoring trio Charlie Davies, (seven goals on the year), Juan Agudelo, and Teal Bunbury (four goals each) will look to run rampant in front of the home crowd.
It's not all bread and roses in Revs Land, however, as skipper Jose Goncalves picked up two yellow cards last weekend at Red Bull Arena, and will miss tonight's match on suspension.
If New York City's notoriously brittle defense can bend without completely shattering, the sky blue faithful ought to rejoice-- this may be the last game this year the boys will have to play without the help of Lampard, Andrea "Party Boy" Pirlo, and newly-signed center back Jefferson Mena. Enjoy this one today, folks. It's likely your last look at NYCFC version 1.0.
INJURED & ABSENT
OUT: Kevin Alston (hamstring strain), Darius Barnes (knee surgery), Jermaine Jones (sports hernia surgery)
SUSPENDED: Jose Goncalves (two yellow cards last match)
New York City:
OUT: Connor Brandt (adductor strain), Frank Lampard (calf strain)
PROBABLE: Javier Calle (quad strain), Khiry Shelton (MCL sprain)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Mix Diskerud (USA! USA! USA!)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
New York City:
RUNNIN' THE NUMBERS
- -7: New England's goal differential on the year. This marks the first time since April that New York City (-3) has faced an opponent with a less favorable goal difference.
- 38: Shots on goal in league play for David Villa, who has found the net ten times, including eight over the last seven games. No New England player has more than fourteen shots on frame.
- 5: The Revs' current losing streak, the longest in the MLS this season. They have one single win in their last twelve tries. For their part, New York City have won three in a row on the road, tied for the best such run in league play in 2015.
- $60,000: The guaranteed minimum annual salary under the new MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was officially implemented this week after being agreed in principle in March. New York City has seven players earning the minimum: R.J. Allen, Pablo Alvarez. Connor Brandt, Eirik Johansen, Kwadwo Poku, Angelino, and Sebastian Velasquez.
- $6,000,000: According to this week's document dump, the guaranteed MLS compensation this year for Frank Lampard.
AT LEAST MASSACHUSETTS HAS TOMMY, RIGHT?
- NYC manager Jason Kreis on his team's penchant for giving up the lead:
"We’re creating attacking chances, creating goal-scoring chances and taking goals, but for whatever reason [there] seems to be a moment every game we just stop."
- Revs gaffer Jay Heaps on the condition of his squad's losing streak:
"I want to say that the last two games for sure we have not had the edge that we need to win games in this league and that’s on the staff, that’s on me, that’s on our group, that’s on us getting more ready, but I’ll take the blame because I got to get our guys to get that edge."
- NYC goalkeeper Josh Saunders on the importance of consistency in the back four:
"We need the guys we have to step up when given the chance, to grow into leaders. Our ability to sniff out plays and cut down on transition is going to be key for us. Look at the players we have-- going forward we’re going to be amazing, but at same time we need to be able to put pressure on the ball and limit chances on the counter."
- Revs defender Chris Tierney on how to turn fortunes around in Foxborough:
"We just don’t have enough guys playing well at the same time right now. [U]s senior guys, we have to be a better example for this squad and we’ll do that this week and we’ll be ready to play."
- Kreis on playing it safe with implementing Frank Lampard into the squad:
"We need to make the smartest decision that we can and that decision needs to come later in the week about whether he’s ready to play in the match, or whether he’s ready to play in a match on an artificial surface."