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Game Day Hub: NYCFC battle DC United at Yankee Soccer Stadium

NYCFC
Courtesy NYCFC.com

It’s Matchday 4, and New York City FC are in the Boogie Down Bronx for the second week in a row — and looking for their second win of the season when they face DC United.

NYCFC is looking better and better with every game, but scoring is still a problem: The team have logged just two goals in three games, and one of those was an own goal that was deflected into the net by an Inter Miami defender. If New York City are to get a result they need to rediscover their scoring ways.

NYCFC vs DC United H2H

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The head-to-head between NYCFC and United heavily favors New York City: Those 10 wins are tied for the most NYCFC have against any team, and the +16 goal differential trails only the +17 the club have against CF Montréal and FC Cincinnati. But we should remind you that last August United handed NYCFC their most dispiriting loss of the season when they fell 1-2 in a “home” game at Red Bull Arena.

Match: NYCFC vs DC United

Date and Time: Saturday, March 18, 7:30 pm ET; Kickoff at 7:39 pm ET

Venue: Yankee Soccer Stadium

Bruce Arena Forecast: Brisk, breezy, 45˚F/7˚C

Watch: Apple TV MLS Season Pass (subscription)

Broadcast Team: It’s once again Callum Williams (former play-by-play announcer for the BBC and Sky Sports), and Calen Carr (former player with Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire)

Listen: English and Spanish broadcasts on NYCFC Radio

Officiating Crew: Mark Allatin (Referee), Andrew Bigelow and Matthew Nelson (Assistant Referees), Chris Penso (4th Official), Sorin Stoica (VAR), Jonathan Johnson (Assistant VAR)

• NYCFC player availability: The club has made no official announcement yet, but NYCFC are seemingly injury-free this weekend. Knock wood.

• Who will be in the Starting XI? We can expect something close to last week’s lineup with Talles Magno spearheading an attack featuring Gabriel Pereira, Matí Pellegrini, and Santiago Rodríguez. 

• Pellegrini put in a particularly strong performance last week, and was unlucky not to score his first goal for New York City. You can read HRB Senior Editor Andrew Leigh’s minute-by-minute analysis of Pellegrini’s game here.

• More intriguing, who will come off the bench? In last week’s 1-0 win over Miami, head coach Nick Cushing closed out the game by bringing on Tayvon Gray, Andres Jasson, and Alfredo Morales. Of those Jasson was the most surprising choice — the winger didn’t feature much for Cushing last year, and the head coach could have opted for the attack-minded Thiago. But Jasson performed well doing Jasson things: Drawing fouls, progressing the ball. Will we see him again?

• DC United player availability: The club has made no official announcement yet, but head coach Wayne Rooney will be without talisman Taxi Fountas (hamstring) and will continue to be without defender Brendan Hines-Ike (broken foot) and midfielder Martín Rodriguez (cruciate ligament injury). The team could also be without starting defender Andy Najar, and starting forward Nigel Robertha. 

• Who will step up from this depleted side? Christian Benteke put in a shift at striker last week against Orlando City, registering six shots and zero goals. Midfielder Mateusz Klich joined from Leeds United in the offseason, but the 32-year-old was largely invisible last week. Winger Christopher Durkin put in a POTM performance, scoring a goal in the 80th minute to draw the game and earn a point. 

• On Thursday, United signed midfielder Lewis O’Brien on loan from Nottingham Forest in the Premier League. The 24-year-old, who is valued at $8.4 million, has featured mostly as a substitute this season, but he won’t be suiting up for his new team until his work visa is sorted.

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