With six games left in the regular season, it's safe.
I promise you, it's safe.
It's safe to say -- OUT LOUD -- that New York City FC is a stone cold lock for the playoffs. And that's all well and good. But with just a half-dozen contests still remaining on the regular season docket, now is just about the perfect time to stop talking about points as such, and start thinking about style points.
A first place finish in the Eastern Conference? A punched ticket for the CONCACAF Champions League? A Golden Boot for David Villa, and an insurgent MVP candidacy for Frank Lampard?
If you'd care to start dreaming right now, I'm telling ya that it's safe.
All Shook Down
We're wound up as hell over here at Hudson River Blue's sprawling downtown headquarters. Allllllll shook up. There's so, so much to play for here in the Five Boroughs, including a potential playoff showdown with the Red Bulls. With that in mind, it's plausible to imagine Patrick Vieira's team looking a bit beyond Saturday evening's road tilt with the New England Revolution.
Indeed, the 2014 Eastern Conference champs are sputtering. Their 2-0 victory last Saturday over Colorado snapped a miserable six-game winless run, during which they had been shut out a whopping four times. Forget Lee Nguyen's eight assists-- Jay Heaps's team sports an apocalyptic goal differential of -17 on the year, nine goals worse than any other team in the East.
Sounds like a walk in the park for star-laden NYCFC, yeah?
Two words: trap game.
Eyeses on Prizes
"It's gonna be a really difficult game, and the week has been good so far," Vieira said during Thursday's training session at SUNY Purchase. "[New England] had a really good result the last game. They changed the way they played. I think they have more confidence than when we played them early in the season."
The NYCFC head coach went on to note that it isn't just about holding on to any old playoff spot down the back stretch of the regular season-- he wants to keep a two-handed grip on first place.
What a difference a year makes, eh?
New York City 2, New England 0. A repeat of the famous scoreline the Blues tossed up in their first-ever home match back in March 2015. David Villa taps home a penalty in the closing minutes of the first half, while Maxime Chanot opens his account with a cool headed finish off a trademark early cross from RJ Allen. NYCFC maintains its pole position in the conference heading into September 17th's titanic home showdown against West-leading FC Dallas.