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Game Day Hub: New York City vs Columbus in the Boogie Down Bronx

An NYCFC looking to win six straight – and break a club record – host a Columbus no longer distracted by the Concacaf Champions Cup.

Always dress for the occasion | Courtesy

It's Matchday 17, and New York City FC return from the international TST break to host Columbus Crew on a warm Friday night at Yankee Soccer Stadium.

NYCFC were the hotttttest team in MLS leading into that two-week pause: Riding a five-game winning streak, New York City took 25 points out of a possible 30 in their last 10 games — only LAFC match that run of form.

That five-game winning streak equals a club record set back in 2019, when Domé Torrent roamed the technical area. One more win will break that record — and give this New York City squad the club's best-ever points total through the first 17 games of the season.

Game Day Essentials

• Matchday 17: New York City FC vs Columbus Crew

• Date and Time: Friday, June 14, 7:30 pm ET

• Venue: Yankee Soccer Stadium

• Forecast: Warm and humid with a chance of thunderstorms, 75˚F/24C

• Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV 

• Apple Broadcast Team: Nate Bukaty and Devon Kerr (English), Pablo Ramirez and Jesus Bracamontes (Spanish)

New York City FC Radio: Glenn Crooks and Matty Lawrence (English), Roberto Abramowitz and Ariel Judas (Spanish)

• Officiating Crew: Alexis Da Silva (referee), Jason White and Justin Howard (assistant referees), Elvis Osmanovic (fourth official), Sorin Stoica (VAR), Jonathan Johnson (assistant VAR)

• Kits: New York City will be in their sky-blue Interboro Kit; Columbus will wear their black VeloCITY Kit

Columbus are coming off a loss in the Concacaf Champions Cup Final, when a team with the tummy troubles lost to Pachuca 3-0. The schedule congestion caused by the Concacaf Champions Cup was rough on Columbus this season, who nevertheless have a strong record despite all the travel and midweek games: The Crew are riding a three-game winning streak, with two of those earned on the road.

Give the defense credit. Columbus have allowed just 13 goals in 14 games, which works out to 0.93 goals allowed per 90 minutes. That's the lowest in MLS: This backline is stingy.

But then so is New York City's, whose defense allowed 17 goals in 16 games. It works out to 1.06 goals per 90 minutes, which is the third-lowest in MLS.

New York City vs Columbus Crew H2H

23 8 6 9 40 39 1

Columbus have a slight advantage in the historic head-to-head, with nine wins to New York City's eight. But the recent matchups have been dead even: Two draws in 2023 (when Columbus won MLS Cup), and one win apiece in 2022.

Both of those last year ended 1-1. In the first, New York City's lackluster attack barely put up a fight. But then Talles Magno made way for Gabe Segal, who scored in the 90+4' to steal a point at home. In the second, it was New York City that gave up the late goal: Justin Haak put NYCFC ahead with his first MLS goal, but then the Crew's Sean Zawadzki scored in the 90+4' to steal a point at home.

Notably, the majority of the 39 goals scored by Columbus were scored in Ohio: The Crew have 30 goals at home, and just nine goals away.

New York City FC

Player Availability: Thiago Martins is Out due to the hamstring injury he suffered during warm-ups on May 31 before the win over the San Jose Earthquakes. Rio Hope-Gund also remains Out, though Kevin O'Toole does not appear on the injury report and was back fully in training this week after being subbed off with a leg injury in the 39th minute of the win over San Jose.
• NYCFC last played on May 31, but Mounsef Bakrar and defender Tayvon Gray were active and away on international duty for World Cup Qualifying with Algeria and Jamaica respectively. Will that impact their minutes and availability vs the Crew?
• Expect a Starting XI with some rotation, as head coach Nick Cushing will have one eye on the game next Wednesday away at LA Galaxy, and another on the following Saturday at Nashville SC.
• Maxi Moralez made an instant impact vs San Jose in his first minutes played since tearing his ACL last summer. How will he follow up on that near-perfect return appearance?
• Cushing spoke to HRB executive editor Oliver Strand at length about a wide variety of topics, which includes his path to becoming head coach of NYCFC, the high expectations inside City Football Group, and his recent sartorial upgrades.

Nick Cushing: We want to score goals in less than 3 passes
In this exclusive interview with the New York City FC head coach we talk expectations, possession vs pressing, and why his mom told him to dress better on gamedays.

• Goalkeeper Matt Freese is a huge part of why New York City is off to one of its best starts in club history through the first half of the regular season. Freese was the subject of a must-read profile by Charles Boehm for the MLS website, which comes not long after our Matthew Mangam took a close look at what has made Freese so elite during the 2024 season.
• This New York City side logged a strong opening half of the 2024 season, in line with the club's results in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022 — the Boys in Blue are back. One more win and this side will have 32 points through 17 games, which will mark the best first-half record in club history, beating the 31 points earned in 2018.

New York City FC record through 17 games

2024* 9 2 5 24 17 7 29 1.71
2023 4 6 7 17 22 -5 18 1.06
2022 8 5 4 33 19 14 29 1.71
2021 8 4 5 32 18 14 28 1.65
2020 8 2 7 22 15 7 26 1.53
2019 7 8 2 30 20 10 29 1.71
2018 9 4 4 34 24 10 31 1.82
2017 9 3 5 31 20 11 30 1.76
2016 6 6 5 27 31 -4 24 1.41
2015 4 5 8 17 19 -2 17 1.00

* Through 16 games

Columbus Crew

Player Availability: Goalkeeper Evan Bush is Out with an arm injury, while goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen (Guatemala) and forward Jacen Russell-Rowe (Canada) are away on international duty.
• Patrick Schulte ranks highly among MLS goalkeepers so far this season, with the Crew keeper having four clean sheets, good for a share of sixth-most in MLS, while also being ninth in save percentage (75.6%) and second in goals against per 90 minutes (0.92 GA/90). Advanced expected stats also rate Schulte highly, as he's fifth with a +3.2 PSxG-GA, which measures the likelihood of a keeper saving a shot against the number of goals he's conceded.
• The Crew midfield spine of four-time MLS Cup winner Darlington Nagbe and reported $4 million Middlesbrough transfer target Aidan Morris is as good as there is with the ball at its feet. Nagbe leads the league with a 95.6% pass completion rate on 681 attempts, while Morris is sixth with a 91.8% pass completion rate on 1,024 pass attempts. Morris is also in the Top 10 league-wide in tackles, tackles won, and dribbles tackled.
• Columbus head coach Wilfried Nancy did not speak kindly of the Yankee Soccer Stadium playing surface during his pre-match press conference, lamenting the angles and saying it was "really, really bad."
• For more things to know about Columbus Crew, read the latest edition of Oppo Research with Ty Fisher of Massive Report.

Oppo Research: 5 Things about Columbus Crew
Ty Fisher of Massive Report tells us why Cucho Hernández is struggling, why the Concacaf Champions Cup was draining, and why Columbus need to get back to basics.