D.C. United takes the battle to the Bronx tonight as they meet with NYCFC for the first time in 2023. While the teams’ last match took place across the river in New Jersey at Red Bull Arena, the Black-and-Red have never won a match at Yankee Stadium.
Could tonight be a first?
Our own Adam Taylor spoke directly with NYCFC communications to share his perspective on tonight’s matchup, and we couldn’t agree more.
NYCFC is on a home winning streak, riding high on five consecutive home wins. They’ve won 14 of their last 20 home matches in all competitions. Nick Cushing has a full-strength squad to choose from for this evening’s match, unlike Wayne Rooney, who has four important players sidelined with injuries.
Cushing recognizes the threat D.C. poses, though. He said, “We want to make sure we’re really aware of the areas where we can use our strengths. I’ve watched all of D.C.’s games, and they’ve carried the ball for the majority of those games. Against Columbus, they had more of the ball. Against Toronto, they had more of the ball, and against Orlando, they had more of the ball. They’re a really good team, and they’ve really improved from last year. They’ve added some real experience and for us, it’s about making sure that we know where they can be strong and where we can be strong.”
D.C. United head coach Wayne Rooney accepts no excuses, about the field or otherwise. He said, “We’re going to go there and play the team and there’s no excuses from us. If we don’t play well. We don’t win the game, and we’re certainly not gonna make an excuse of the field.”
Of D.C.’s recent performance, he said, “It’s been a frustrating time. as well first because I think the Orlando game for sure we should have won the game. For the Columbus game, there was some very good moments in that game. The frustrating thing for me is the goals we’ve conceded were avoidable. And on the flip side of that, we’ve created chances, and we have to do better then in the final play. We have to make sure we reward ourselves. Especially when we have good play in scoring goals, and obviously, that helps you win games.”
Check out everything Rooney had to say:
Key Player: Christian Benteke
We would argue that, as of late, no Benteke, no party. He is key to D.C.’s play. His ability to sneak into dangerous spots in the box and contribute to the Black-and-Red’s buildup makes him a standout.
Watch Out For: Matí Pellegrini
NYCFC’s whole attack is dangerous. Let’s get that one out of the way. Pellegrini can move play for NYCFC as he demonstrated against Inter Miami and be dangerous on goal. He should have put one in the back of the net last week, and we’re hoping he doesn’t find his goal against D.C. United.
Challenges: Yankee Stadium. The Black-and-Red haven’t been able to pull off a win in the Bronx. Ever.
Previously: D.C. United took all three points last August, winning 2-1 over NYCFC at Red Bull Arena. This was the first time the Black-and-Red had notched a road win against NYCFC (and we’re hoping it happens again). However, D.C. should keep on its toes. NYCFC has won four of the last six meetings.
D.C. United Availability:
Out: Brendan Hines-Ike (foot), Martin Rodriguez (knee), Taxi Fountas (thigh), Andy Najar (thigh)
Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET
Referee: Mark Allatin
Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
Featured image courtesy of D.C. United, Hannah Wagner