Fresh off defeating the New York Red Bulls for the first time ever, New York City travels to Foxboro for a Wednesday night tilt against a scrappy but struggling New England Revolution. This is the first of four straight road games for the Blues, who will spend the rest of the month on the road. They will not return home until August 20th, when they face off against the LA Galaxy.
New York City owns the best road record in the league, and they'll be looking to cement their unlikely stay atop the Eastern Conference with a victory against the Revs. But off an emotional victory against their arch-rivals across the Hudson, New York City will have to guard against the inevitable drop off that often plagues teams after a victory like Sunday's.
That will be tough to accomplish with a scant two day break between games. Expect to see a fair amount of roster turnover as manager Patrick Vieira looks to rest players who featured on Sunday. Despite his past disappointment with players like Patrick Mullins and Mix Diskerud, he may not have much of a choice but to play them in order to keep players like Frank Lampard from breaking down.
That factor becomes even more salient when you consider that Gillette Stadium has probably the worst surface in the league to play on, aside from Yankee Stadium. It's an unforgiving artificial turf field that ravages the legs of players, and Vieira would be well-advised to spare key pieces like David Villa, Jack Harrison, and others from playing on it if at all possible.
Moreover, even though New England are in ninth place at the moment, they’ve only lost once at home all season. Their poor record is more due to woeful performance on the road. Their most recent loss was a 3-2 defeat to the Montréal Impact which saw them cough up a two-goal lead. But recent acquisition Kei Kamara, late of the Columbus Crew, looks to be rounding into form, and the fragile New York City back four will have to watch out for him.
Speaking of that defense -- Federico Bravo and RJ Allen will have to be careful to not pick up a yellow card in this game. If either do, they’ll miss next Sunday’s game against Sporting Kansas City.
Tonight's game will not be televised. It will be streamed on Fox Sports Go. If you're out of either the New York or New England markets, it'll be on MLS Live.
Here’s how I would line up the team tonight, in order to rotate players fully:
That said, that's a lot more players than I expect Vieira to rotate.