NYCFC spent the week training in New York after grinding out a 0-0 draw against CF Montréal last Saturday: The offense managed only one shot in that game, but the defense logged their fourth consecutive clean sheet and their 12th so far this season.
While New York City trained in the August heat, Columbus suffered a dispiriting midweek loss to that same Montréal at home: The Crew was up 1-0 when the game was suspended for more than 90 minutes because of a lightning storm, and after play was resumed Montréal scored two late goals to win it in stoppage time.
The head-to-head between these two teams are an even eight wins and four draws each. New New York City have a slight advantage in the goal tally, scoring 31 to the Crew’s 27 for a goal differential of +4.
Match: NYCFC vs Columbus Crew
Date and Time: Saturday, August 6, 7:30 pm ET
Venue: Lower.com Field
Bruce Arena Forecast: Hot and humid at kickoff with a chance of showers, 81˚F/27˚C
Watch: YES, ESPN+ (blackouts apply)
Stream: YES App
Listen: English and Spanish broadcasts on NYCFC Radio
• Player Availability: Keaton Parks is out after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot. Maxi Moralez (lower body), Anton Tinnerholm(lower body), and Maxime Chanot (lower body) are questionable. Alfredo Morales will be available after serving his suspension for yellow card accumulation last week.
• How will interim head coach Nick Cushing jump-start the offense? Last week’s performance against Montréal was anemic. It was the club's first game after loaning Taty Castellanos to Girona FC in La Liga, but the poor attack was less the fault of the forwards than it was a midfielder that couldn't hold the ball.
• Will Héber get the start again? He wasn't much of a factor last game, and while that wasn't entirely his fault (see above), we could see Talles Magno shifted to the middle to mix things up.
• Expect to see another hard-fought, low-scoring game along the lines of the recent 1-0 wins over FC Dallas and New Jersey Red Bulls, or the 0-0 draw with Montréal. All of those games were also played on the road.
• This is one of the few times this season when NYCFC will play on full rest, while their opponent will play on short rest.
• NYCFC will need to contain Columbus Crew’s Cucho if they are to get a result: The new signing quickly established himself as one of the most prolific goal scorers in the league even if he was held scoreless on Wednesday by Montréal. NYCFC have shut down some of the best goal-scorers in MLS: Jesus Ferreira, Taxi Fountas, Lewis Morgan, Jeremy Ebobisse, and Paul Arriola all failed to score against New York City.
• The NYCFC midfield will have a tough time containing Darlington Nagbe. The seasoned vet remains one of the best midfielders in the league at 32 years old.
• Columbus opened the handsome 20,000-seat Lower.com field just last summer, but it’s not exactly a citadel: The Crew are 4-3-4 there so far this season. That almost mirrors NYCFC’s road record of 4-3-3. Call it even.
• The weakest link at Columbus could be head coach Caleb Porter. His tactical decisions on Wednesday likely cost them the game, and it doesn’t feel have the full backing of the Crew’s supporters despite winning the MLS Cup in 2020. If the crowd turns on the coach and the players it could be a very long night for the home team.
• Want more insight into how the Crew will play tomorrow? Read our interview with Massive Report’s Thomas Costello here.
The comment section below is for everybody in the Hudson River Blue community to use for the game thread. Not a member? Sign up here — it’s free.