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Keys to the Match | Refreshed 

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New York City FC host Columbus Crew on Friday night under the lights.

Kickoff at Yankee Stadium is set for 7:30PM ET.

Here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Ford…

Refreshed

New York City FC recorded another victory in their last outing before the international break and their bye week.

The 5-1 win against San Jose Earthquakes was City’s biggest of the season so far and denoted a team in fine form and full of confidence. A busy period for City saw them play six games between May 5 and May 31. That run included trips to Boston, Toronto, and Philadelphia, with the Boys in Blue claiming wins in all three cities.

The players enjoyed some time off last week before beginning preparations for the visit of the Columbus Crew. Hopefully, City will enter the game refreshed and ready to attack the next phase of the 2024 campaign.

History

This will be the 24th meeting between New York City FC and Columbus Crew in MLS.

The Crew currently have nine wins to City’s eight, with six draws between the two teams. City’s biggest win against the Crew came in 2021 – the same year City won the MLS Cup – thanks to a 4-1 victory at Yankee Stadium.

Last season saw the two teams play out a pair of 1-1 draws. Interestingly, in both games, the home team scored a late equalizer in the 94th minute to claim a point. In Ohio, Justin Haak’s first goal for the Club put City ahead, while at Yankee Stadium, Gabe Segal rescued a point for City in injury time.

Nick Cushing will no doubt be eager to improve on that this Friday by claiming all three points.

Change Up

Wilfried Nancy has done an incredibly impressive job with the Columbus Crew.

The Frenchman guided the Crew to an MLS Cup last season, and this month saw them finish as runners-up in the Concacaf Champions Cup.

One of Nancy’s core tactical principles involves using a 3-4-3 system. The strength of this formation allows the Crew to stretch the field which helps them create spaces to attack. Equally, it puts a high demand on the team’s wingbacks, with opposition teams able to exploit that weakness through quick counterattacks.

Nick Cushing has at times used a similar system this season, but he has also sought to maintain his preferred 4-3-3 formation and use it to exploit the weaknesses of the back three system. Regardless, it should make for an exciting tactical battle between the two sides on Friday.

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