With the arrival of spring comes the return of international qualifying, both for this summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Right on schedule, three New York City FC players will be with their respective national sides, causing them to miss Saturday's home tilt against the New England Revolution.
Mix Diskerud has been a mainstay in Jurgen Klinsmann's USA side, and returns to the fold for a home-and-home against CONCACAF foes Guatemala: March 25th in Guatemala City and March 29th in Columbus, Ohio.
Mix's roommate, Khiry Shelton, will be among Andi Herzog's USA Under-23 squad for a two-legged tie against Colombia for a chance to qualify for the Olympics this summer. Those squads will face off in March 25th in Baranquilla, followed by a date in Frisco, Texas, four days later.
Ronald Matarrita is set to join up with his Costa Rica side for two CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches against Jamaica, also on the 25th and 29th.
Major League Soccer doesn't observe FIFA's official international dates. For NYCFC, then, the show must go on.
Shelton was subbed off in the latter stages of Friday's 1-0 gut-punch at the hands of Orlando City, giving way to the electric Stiven Mendoza. With a winger spot suddenly open in this weekend's starting XI, look for Mendoza to slide in and raise hell, provided that Vieira sticks with a front-three setup.
As for Mix's spot in the XI, it's about damn time for Kwadwo Poku to step out under the lights and jack up a Yankee Stadium crowd that has been downright begging for his 2016 debut. This weekend may be his big chance. To spell Matarrita, Vieira will likely stick with a back three: we'll guess that he'll send out Jefferson Mena, Jason Hernandez, and Andoni Iraola.
New York City takes on the Revs at 3:00 PM this Saturday, March 26th, at Yankee Stadium.