Preview: NYCFC vs Columbus Crew

Posted By Peter Nolan on August 19, 2019

Who: NYCFC vs Columbus Crew
When: Wednesday, August 21st @ 7:00 pm ET
LineNYCFC -186 | Draw +330 | Columbus Crew +450

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Fresh off a palette cleansing 4-1 win at Cincinnati, NYCFC will be looking to add three more points when they play host to the Columbus Crew Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

NYCFC will do this without James Sands, the 19-year-old center back/midfielder who has been a key part of the team’s success so far in 2019. Sands faces an extended time on the sidelines after suffering a broken collarbone versus Cincinnati.

Sands had previously sustained a broken arm against the Ohioans, so don’t expect NYCFC’s first-ever Homegrown signing to be vacationing in the Buckeye State anytime soon.

NYCFC vs Columbus preview

New York will be welcoming a Crew side that has begun to make the adjustment to Caleb Porter from longtime leader Gregg Berhalter. They are undefeated in over a month, having drawn their three previous matches.

The peculiar streak has not exactly rocketed the Crew up the standings. Columbus sits in 11th place in the MLS Eastern Conference, just one point above their in-state rival, Cincinnati.

New York will need to keep a particular eye on Pedro Santos, their 31-year-old Portuguese DP who has racked up nine goals this season in 26 games. Santos’ production, which includes three assists, has helped get the Crew on track after their leader and playmaker Federico Higuain went down to an ACL injury late in May. Columbus was already struggling but an indication of Pipa’s importance to this team is that Higuain is still the team leader with five assists.

NYC come into the match still trying to take advantage of the team’s games in hand over its division rivals. The Pigeons having lined out 24 times in 2019 as compared to 26 matches played by division-leading Atlanta, NYRB, and New England. Second-place Philadelphia Union and fourth place DC United sandwich NYC in the Eastern Conference standings having played 27 times this campaign.

New York’s win over Cincinnati was a badly needed one. It came on the heels of a top of the table battle in Atlanta that went to United in straight sets, with the gulf in class between the 2019 champions and New York making NYC look like pretenders.

New York was dominated by Atlanta to such an extent that NYC boss Dome Torrent called out the courage of several of his players. Those same players showed resilience against last-place Cincinnati, running out a 4-1 winner after falling behind early at Nippert Stadium.

His squad already formation fluid, Dome Torrent ran out a 4-3-3 that managed to get both of his center forwards, Valentin Castellanos and Heber, on the pitch at the same time, and it worked a charm with the two strikers each bagging a brace versus Cincinnati.

With Alexandru Mitria filling out the attacking trio. all-important Maxi Moralez drops back into the midfield role that best suit his playmaking skills. This leaves captain Alex Ring and reinstated Keaton Parks to do the midfield dirty work after Torrent dropped Parks for the Atlanta match to deleterious effect.

The good news, however, does not continue to NYC’s defensive wall directly in front of goalkeeper Sean Johnson. With Sands set to miss considerable time, and the status of likely replacement Alexander Callens and All-Star caliber fullback Anton Tinnerholm up in the air.

Ben Sweat and Eric Miller are on hand to fill in but Johnson may need to be extra sharp in order to keep Santos, Gyasi Zardes and company at bay Wednesday night in the Bronx.

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Written by
Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan has been on the soccer beat for many years now, covering the United States Men's and Women's teams, from the SnowClasico to Azteca and back again. Along with the US national teams, Peter will provide insight into the MLS and NWSL, with a focus on the NY Red Bulls and NYCFC.

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