NYCFC were somewhat of a surprise success last season; only in their second year in the league, with an aging, while very star studded, midfield.
Very few expected the offensive outpour from rookie Jack Harrison, coupled with a stellar year for NYCFC’s best player, David Villa.
This year, the team has begun right where they left off, defeating DC United 4-0 last week.
It appears yet again that this team’s strength will be their offensive prowess; Villa will be joined up top by new additions Rodney Wallace, formerly of the Portland Timbers, and a new Designated Player Maxi Moralez, from Liga MX.
Harrison will retain his starting position on the wing, with Villa lined up as a false 9.
Both look poised to continue their form from last season, with Villa scoring twice in the first two games, and Harrison hitting the crossbar against DC, leading to a Wallace goal.
Their attack, combined with the same backline as last year, with an added year of experience, could lead to a dangerous situation for the Impact on Saturday.
The team usually lines up in a 4-3-3, with Frederic Brilliant and Maxime Chanot anchoring the defense, and new arrival Alexander Ring starting in centre midfield in Pirlo’s absence.
For the Impact to earn points at Yankee Stadium, it will be important to defend better than they did against Seattle. Villa, while not the tallest, remains a threat on crosses, which have proven to be a weakness for Montreal.
They will need to be aware of Villa, Harrison, Wallace, and Moralez, as all four are capable of creating and finishing scoring chances.
If they are able to do that, there should be room to operate on the counter attack for Piatti and Oduro.