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NYCFC vs St. Louis City – Preview and 5 Questions

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Feb 24, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New York City goalkeeper Matt Freese (49) stops a penalty shot by Charlotte FC forward Kerwin Vargas (18) in the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The New York City Football Club attempts to even their record at 1-1 as the team travels to Missouri to take on St. Louis City for the first time. NYCFC dropped match 1 by a final of 1-0 to Charlotte, giving up the solitary goal just 8 minutes in while St. Louis pulled a draw in the first match of their sophomore season. As the two teams face off, as usual I have 5 questions I want to ask:


1) Can NYCFC Get Into The Win column? Not going to mince words, this match is going to be difficult. They’re facing a St. Louis team that went 11W-4L-2D last year at home and had a West leading 56 points in their inaugural season. This could cause a challenge for a Pidgeon squad with one win in it’s last 18 road matches dating back to last year. I feel getting a first half lead will be beneficial in a hundred ways, first goal of the season, first lead of the season and last year the team’s wins came with a lead at halftime. Playing to win is hugely different than playing not to lose so that mindset of belief while on the pitch of walking away with 3 points is going to be key for this team right now.

2) So What Can We Expect From St. Louis? Frankly, frustration. Last year City lead the league in Tackles, Blocked Passes and was third in the league in interceptions. Teams like this are infuriating to a squad to set up a rhythm, and a young team like NYCFC could show that frustration if they fall behind early again. Veteran Goalkeeper Roman Bürki pulled 8 Clean Sheets last season, including 2 in the team’s first 5 matches (where the team also shot out of the gate with 5 straight wins). Lastly, this is a team that had a draw in it’s first home match this year, so they’ll want to get at least one home win before going on the road for their next two matches.

3) Will NYCFC Play With Two Strikers Up Front? I don’t know, but I’d love to see it. Nick Cushing said during the pre-match press conference it was possible meaning he might not out of the mentality that he tipped his hand. But fans have been aching for an offensive threat for a while and Jovan and Bakrar could give them that. In time the two together could be massive, but I don’t see it for now anyway.

4) If the Team Loses, What Then? Oh boy. If this team starts out with 0 points in it’s first two matches, this will get ugly. There were small rumblings already about Nick Cushing and David Lee being shown the door after the shut out loss last week, but if the team lays an egg this match the fans are going to decuple down on wanting them out before the home opener. As of this writing, Google gives NYCFC 33% odds to win and another 27% to draw, I can live with that personally. But again, should the team go into it’s home opener next week at the bottom of the standings that match is going to be viewed far more as a must win than a celebrated home opener.

5) If the Team Wins, What Then? Then basically all is forgiven, for now. I always felt that getting three points in their first two road matches was a successful road trip and would give the fans the mindset they could legit start the season at 3-1. Fans at this point have a “Prove it to me” mentality so a win tomorrow would go a long way to assist that.

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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