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NYCFC vs DC United This Weekend – 5 Questions For The Club’s 33rd Match

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Mar 18, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York City FC forward Talles Magno (43) dribbles the ball defended by D.C. United defender Ruan (2) during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports

With a current unbeaten streak standing at 6 (3W-3D), the New York City Football Club MOSTLY controls it’s own future going into the final two matches of the season. Currently sitting at 38 points and 8th place in the new 9th place play-in/playoff format, the club is at risk of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015, it’s inaugural season. In fact, the team’s streak of 7 straight playoff appearances in the second longest active streak in Major League Soccer, with only their Derby rivals the Red Bulls with a longer current run (which may also be snapped this season). Their paper thin lead over 3 teams in the East with just a single point separating 8th place through 11th with every other team underneath them playing tomorrow. Take a look to see just how close this is as we enter the final pair of matches for the season:

All things considered, it’s been a decent if not slightly disappointing run the past month. The club’s tie against a Messi-less Inter-Miami squad reeked of both disappointment and relief, as the team went from up 1-0 to, in additional time, both giving up a game tying goal and VERY nearly losing (as in, a shot just 2cm lower would have meant 0 points in the match). As the club goes into this weekend there’s a ton of questions that warrant needing asking but I’ll stick to 5 for now:


1) Can This Team Make The Postseason? Short answer: Who knows? The club has the benefit of playing both DC and Chicago (the latter I will discuss in the coming days) in it’s final two matches, with DC playing tomorrow night and again on short rest against NYCFC this Saturday. Short version, NYCFC NEEDS to win both. 6 points should get them in either 8th or 9th, but anything less than 2 wins can all but guarantee they’ll miss the playoffs.

2) Can They Capitalize On the End of the First Half? AND Shore Up The End of the Match? Many of you have labeled me the stat nerd and I’ve tried to live up to the part. But this stat from a few days ago speaks volumes:

The team’s clear strength is towards the end of the first half, but their second half is suspect. All but one win this season has involved the team leading at halftime, something Head Coach Nick Cushing talked about settling the team. I’m inclined to believe him, as this is a young squad, even if they are starting to gel.

3) Is This Matt Freese’s Team Now? Dang if it sure looks like it. 4 clean sheets and two total goals allowed (one a PK) in the past 6 matches as the team, as mentioned, is currently 3W-3D. There was some talk that Freese struggled initially having to adjust to playing a more forward style of goalkeeper as opposed to staying back in the box, something he’s adapted to well. But I’d be shocked if he doesn’t finish out the last two matches of the year.

May 10, 2023; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York City goalkeeper Matt Freese (49) deflects a shot on goal in the second half of the US Open Cup match at TQL Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

4) What Can NYCFC Fans Expect From Audi Field? This is a mixed bag. On one hand, NYCFC is a middle of the road 5W-5L-1D playing in DC. On the other hand DC is an equally middling 5W-5L-6D at home this season and currently on a 5 game winless streak. Additionally, playing on the road in Austin tomorrow then playing Saturday on short rest could prove challenging for Wayne Rooney’s squad. However (yet again), DC’s final match of the regular season will be at home as they too play for their playoff lives. Rooney isn’t going to allow his squad to lose that final match and possibly their playoff chances. To me, an NYCFC tie will feel like a loss, especially after the squandered 2 points last weekend in Miami.

5) Can Bakrar Rebound? New NYCFC Striker Mounsef Bakrar had a difficult match the other night, missing a pair of clear shots that could have gotten them club the win. No one on that club feels that more than he did, as the reaction on his face spoke volumes. However despite that, he still has 3 goals and 7 shots on net in his past 6, so the talent is absolutely there and in my humble-ish opinion, I think he makes up for last week by picking up a goal in this one.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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