The international break’s over. Nearly over is the MLS season; two more games, and we’re into the Audi™ MLS Cup Playoffs. With a win against the New England Revolution this evening, New York City can clinch a first-round bye and second place in the East for the second straight season.
With 56 points, the Pigeons have already beaten their previous best record of 54, set last season. They come into Gillette Stadium on a four-game unbeaten streak. But the Revolution have always played New York City tough. The all-time series between the two teams stands all square — each team has three wins, and they’ve shared the spoils twice. New England has the upper-hand at home, with two wins to the Pigeon’s one. So far this season, New York City and New England have drawn once (2-2, on May 31, at Yankee Stadium). The Pigeons won the last time they faced each other — a 2-1 win in the Bronx on August 20th.
This will be a tough game for New York City. The Revs are 11-2-3 at Foxboro this season. It is their abysmal road record — winless, with 13 losses — that’s destroyed their shot at the playoffs. Moreover, New York City hasn’t scored more than one goal in seven games — a streak coinciding with a rough injury patch and the absence of talismanic striker David Villa. The last time New York City scored more than once was, coincidentally, that last game against the Revs.
Missing from tonight’s game will be the following players:
- Miguel Camargo and Maxim Chanot, out injured. Chanot suffered a setback in his recovery this past week, which may imperil his chances of playing in the postseason.
- Maxi Moralez, suspended for yellow card accumulation.
Alexander Ring, meanwhile, will have to be careful not to receive a yellow card, as the next one he receives means he will miss the season finale against Columbus next week.
The team will line up in their customary 4-3-3 formation. With Sean Johnson in goal, I expect the following lineup from manager Patrick Vieira. Lining up left-to-right:
Ben Sweat, Alex Callens, Frederic Brillant, and Andraz Struna; Yangel Herrera, Alexander Ring, and Tommy McNamara; Rodney Wallace, David Villa (C), and Jack Harrison.
The game will be televised on YES in the New York area. Fox Sports GO for those of you streaming licitly. It all kicks off at 5 p.m. EDT.