New York City travels to Ohio tonight losers of two of their last three games. Fresh off a solid win against the rock-bottom Philadelphia Union, NYCFC got dusted by Eastern-leading Orlando 2-1, courtesy of two Cyle Larin goals. Despite the scoreline, it was a thoroughly convincing win for the Lions.
New York City had to scramble on defense after left back Rónald Matarrita went down with a high ankle sprain during practice. Rodney Wallace, normally the left wing, deputized; it showed. Both of Orlando’s goals came down the left side.
But Columbus has their own injury woes, and they, too, have lost two of the last three games. Midfielder Artur left their last game — a defeat against the Red Bulls of New York — with a broken wrist, and Alex Crognale left injured as well.
Columbus, like Orlando, has been imperious at home, posting a 3-0-1 record. New York City’s road form, at 1-2, isn’t great. But that isn’t all; Saturday’s match will be the first in a run of five out of six road matches for them. They host Atlanta next week, then play four straight away games, against Dallas, RSL, Orlando and Atlanta.
Worse: star man David Villa is questionable for tonight’s game with an illness. And they’ve never won at Columbus, only drawing twice. So any points garnered tonight will be precious for the Blues, who snapped a five-game road losing streak when they beat the Union.
Expect the same lineup for the Blues that you saw last week: a 4-3-3 that saw Wallace at left back and Tommy McNamara finally getting a start in Wallace’s left wing position. With Villa ill, perhaps we’ll see Ugo Okoli get significant time on the field.
Either way, games between Columbus and NYCFC tend to be high-scoring affairs; the teams averaged 4.6 goals per game in their previous five meetings. New York City lead MLS with 5.6 shots on target per game this season.
The game will air on YES here in NYC, streaming on the FoxSportsGO app. Outside of the city, you can watch on MLS LIVE.