Welcome to Matchday 28, which has New York City FC hosting Vancouver Whitecaps in the Bronx: It’s another must-win afternoon for New York City if they hope to make the playoffs. Here is your NYCFC vs Vancouver Game Day Hub.
Game Day Essentials
- Matchday 28: NYCFC vs Vancouver Whitecaps
- Date and Time: Saturday, September 2, 3:30 pm ET
- Kickoff Time: 3:39 pm ET
- Venue: Yankee Soccer Stadium
- Bruce Arena Forecast: Sunny, warm, a perfect end-of-summer-day, 81˚F/27 ˚C
- Watch: Apple TV
- Apple Broadcast Team: Keith Costigan and Maurice Edu
- Listen: English and Spanish broadcasts on NYCFC Radio
- Officiating Crew: Pierre-Luc Lauziere (referee), Andrew Bigelow and Justin Howard (assistant referees), Guido Gonzales Jr (fourth official), Daniel Radford (VAR), Mike Kampmeinert (assistant VAR)
NYCFC vs Vancouver preview
New York City are coming off a satisfying 2-0 win over CF Montréal in the Bronx on Wednesday. It was their first win in MLS league play since July 1, when they beat Montréal in Quebec. But it’s just their sixth win of the season, and New York City are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015: This is a must-win game if NYCFC are to make the postseason.
Vancouver just logged two impressive road wins in a row, beating Chicago Fire on Wednesday and Portland Timbers last Saturday. This is an inconsistent team that nevertheless sit comfortably in fifth place in the Western Conference with 37 points after 25 games, just three points off second-place LAFC. The question remains: Are Vancouver exhausted from the cross-country barnstorming, or are they energized by picking up six points on the road?
NYCFC vs Vancouver H2H
The head-to-head between the two clubs is short and sweet: Six games played, three NYCFC wins. Last year, the two teams played a scoreless draw in Vancouver. It was the first time that either club failed to score in the history of the rivalry: These matches tend to be high-scoring affairs, averaging 3.5 goals per game.
Vancouver’s sole win came way back in 2017, when an 88′ goal beat a New York City side that included David Villa, Jack Harrison, and Andrea Pirlo.
- Player Availability: James Sands remains questionable after missing the last game with a lower-body issue.
- Both Mitja Ilenič and Keaton Parks are one yellow card away from sitting out a game due to yellow card accumulation.
- Will Matt Freese get the start? The goalkeeper kept a clean sheet and made three saves against Montréal on Wednesday.
- NYCFC didn’t just win that game, they scored two goals for the first time in MLS league play since June 21, when Atlanta United stole a draw in the fifth minute of stoppage time. NYCFC have to like their chances today against a Vancouver that have allowed goals in 11 of their last 12 MLS league games.
- Will we see Mounsef Bakrar and Talles Magno on the field together? Head coach Nick Cushing has yet to play the two at the same time in an MLS league game.
- The official Hudson River Blue NYCFC Playoff Tracker jumped three points after the midweek win, and now stands at 29 points on the season. We will update it the parsec New York City put up their next favorable result.
- Player Availability: Starting defender Luis Martins is out with a calf injury. Backup goalkeeper Thomas Hasal is sidelined with a knee injury.
- Will Brian White and Ryan Gauld see limited playing time? The two are the heart of the Vancouver attack, but they’re gassed after their week’s playing and travel schedule, and might start on the bench. Gauld’s season (nine goals, eight assists in 23 appearances) has people putting him in the MLS MVP conversation. White is a former Red Bull who reportedly will have 50 friends and family there to root him on at Yankee Soccer Stadium.
- The Whitecaps are the top-ranked team in MLS in a number of interesting statistical categories: Expected goals (xG), big chances created, accurate crosses per match, and both completed passes and crosses into the penalty area (rankings via FBref.com and Fotmob). Vancouver likes to whip crosses toward goal, so it could be a busy afternoon for NYCFC’s new-look defensive line.
- Richie Laryea, Canadian international and longtime Toronto FC player, left TFC this summer to join Vancouver on loan through the end of 2023 (by way of Nottingham Forest in England’s Premier League, who’d previously bought Laryea, then sent him back to Toronto on loan). Laryea assisted on Toronto’s goal that beat NYCFC at BMO Field in April, and the wide player has recorded a goal and an assist in nine appearances all-time vs. New York City.
- You can read more about the team in Oppo Research: 5 Things about Vancouver Whitecaps