YANKEE STADIUM– NYCFC and the Revs are two of the must-watch teams in MLS currently and they go head-to-head tomorrow night. After all, the pair are the front-runners when it comes to goals scored in the Eastern Conference this season. Both had their goalkeepers feature in Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT squad at the Gold Cup, and one has to say that Matt Turner and Sean Johnson are jewels in the respective crowns.
A good week for the two teams
Talking of Turner and he continues to go from strength to strength. He joined Pedro Gallese (Orlando) and Andre Blake (Philadelphia) as the goalkeepers in the group to represent MLS in the All-Star game. The trio were given a half hour each and it was Turner’s that proved the most influential. The Revs’ number one denied Rogelio Funes Mori of Monterrey and Club America’s Salvador Reyes in the penalty shootout, playing a decisive role as the US got one over on their rivals Mexico once more this summer.
It was a week of big headlines, albeit very different, for New England and NYCFC. Firstly the Revs and whilst Carles Gil pulled out of the All-Star game due to injury, Tajon Buchanan was absent for an alternate reason. He shared pictures on his social media of him on a plane amidst the swirling transfer rumours and it was later confirmed that the Canadian was on the move. Freiburg and Chelsea were two teams that had their moment in the spotlight but ultimately Buchanan’s destination was Belgium. Club Brugge had long since been touted as the frontrunners to capture the youngster’s signature and that is how it panned out. USMNT defender Owen Otasowie has also joined Brugge in this window!
On the flipside, it was a heart-warming moment for NYCFC. Their plethora of attacking options has maybe softened the blow that is the injury of Heber, the Brazilian striker having been sidelined for near enough a year now. Heber moved to the Big Apple from Croatia where he played for HNK Rijeka and he was the 2019 top scorer for NYCFC with fifteen goals. Their social team posted videos relating to his rehab and he was moved to tears after a successful test result. The sheer outpouring emotion was almost tough to watch but the thought of him soon returning to action is an amazing one.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) August 25, 2021
Getting back to the game at hand though and as previously mentioned, the Revs and NYCFC are very effective in front of goal. The former have scored at a rate that is a statistician’s nightmare; 44-in-22 whilst the latter have found the back of the net 34 times in three less games. New England are the frontrunner in that stat as well as the whole Shield standings of course whilst only Seattle and SKC are ahead of the New Yorkers, something which would likely change once all teams have played the same amount of games.
Despite Buchanan’s move to Club Brugge, he and the club have reaffirmed their ambitions for the season and that is to clinch silverware. Tajon has a big role to play in this and he seems still as motivated as ever. He has scored in his last three games, against Toronto, DC and Cincinnati, so form is certainly not an issue for twenty-two-year-old.
NYCFC have won six straight games on home turf and so Ronny Deila’s side will be very confident of their abilities, even given the abilities of their opponents. They have a number of players who can contribute going forward, to the point where they don’t always fit into the line-up. Taty Castellanos leads the way in the scoring charts for NYCFC with eight goals, Jesus Medina and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi closely following behind on seven. Gil is of course untouchable when it comes to assists even though he’s sidelined but again, they have Taty on six assists as well as playmaking maestro Maxi Moralez.
Bruce Arena knows how to get it done in this league and his tactical nous will be needed against an NYCFC team that can cause issues on several fronts. Both teams come into this one on great form and an entertaining game should certainly be in store for us at Yankee Stadium.