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NYCFC vs New York Red Bulls – Derby #1 of 2024 & 4 Questions

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Mar 30, 2024; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA; New York City FC goalkeeper Matt Freese (49) claims the ball over Inter Miami CF defender Ryan Sailor (15) during the second half at Chase Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of both teams a year ago would have a hard time imagining this, but if the Major League Soccer season were to end today, the New York Red Bulls would end the year in 3rd place and the New York City Football Club right behind them in 4th. So here we are in round 1 of the New York Derby for the 2024 season, a pair of squads that went from 8th & 11th place last year to massive improvements so far in this one and a lot riding on this rivalry match. So what can we expect from this massively intense matchup at Citi Field? Let’s get to the my questions as usual, I’ll answer.

4 Questions

1) Can NYCFC win this match despite their history against their rivals? Not going to be easy. The team’s record at home against RBNY is a solid 6W-3L-1D (7W-15L-5D overall) with this being the first match the have faced each other at Citi Field. THAT could give some advantage to NYCFC being more familiar with the pitch than their Bridge & Tunnel rivals. However RBNY is a solid 3W-2L-3D on the road, thanks in large part to…..

2) Lewis Morgan. Can NYCFC stop him? This will be no easy task as the Scottsman has racked up 9 goals so far this season, with three of those goals coming in the previous 4 matches. Not only does he have 9 of the team’s 23 goals this season, he has 18 of the team’s 63 shots on goal, which is as much as 2rd & 3rd (Emil Forsberg & Elias Manoel) combined. Stop him and you slow down that offense.

3) Is Cushing Out now Cushing In yet? Ehhhh, not for most of the Cushing Out folks, but I feel some have definitely softened their feelings there. 5 wins in the last 6 and 20 points in the past 10 matches (after starting with 0 points in their first three) has shown that the team is definitely capable of winning, especially after back to back road wins against both Toronto and Philadelphia. Check back on those two wins in the months to come, they might be the difference makers at the end of the season. I think if the team lands in 6th like I predicted AND wins a playoff game most of the CU folks will say give him another year.

4) How smart does the front office look after the Matt Freese deal now? EXTREMELY. Freese has been fantastic this season, posting a 5th highest league save percentage at 76.6%, including saving 13 of 16 in the last two road games and much of the fan base view him early on as team MVP. There’s still a lot of season left, but if this team makes the playoffs, it’s likely going to be on his shoulders the rest of the way. The front office has gotten a lot of flack over some of their roster moves last year, but this one is looking really good for them. Also their decision to sign him to an extension in the offseason should give Pidgeon fans a lot of reasons to be excited going forward.

P.S. For those wondering if I’ve ghosted the team (as I’m aware there’s some chatter), I’m on a tiny leave of absence due to a close family member having pancreatic cancer (no, not Robin, since some of you know her). Sorry I haven’t been around as much, but anyone in my situation gets it. How for how things are going, I’ll just say that the pancreatic cancer is doing what pancreatic cancer does and leave it at that & the front office is aware. Stay well y’all.

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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