Major Keys: Who Should Start vs. Houston?

Major Keys to Houston Dynamo

New York City FC are back in the saddle on Saturday afternoon when Houston Dynamo are the visitors to the Pratt & Whitney Stadium…

To get you primed, here are Managing Editor Mark Booth’s Major Keys to the Match…

Comeback Trail

Today’s Injury Report brought glad tidings of joy for Patrick Vieira as he welcomes back a trio of important squad members.

Mikey Lopez, Ronald Matarrita and Ethan White have all been passed fit for this weekend’s game, giving the Frenchman some room to maneuver when it comes to selecting his matchday 18.

For the past few games, Vieira has had to patch things up but now, all of a sudden, it’s starting to feel like NYCFC has its strength in depth back, just in time for the Regular Season run-in.

Maxime Chanot and Yangel Herrera will still be on the sidelines for this one but the pair are nearing their returns and will further boost the options we have at our disposal in the coming weeks…

READ: The Final Five – What’s at Stake?


NYCFC will clinch a berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs this weekend…


NYCFC win vs. Houston Dynamo on Saturday


Montréal Impact tie or lose vs. Atlanta United on Sunday


NYCFC win vs. Houston Dynamo on Saturday


Columbus Crew SC lose vs. New York Red Bulls on Sunday


NYCFC tie vs. Houston Dynamo on Saturday


Montréal Impact lose vs. Atlanta United on Sunday

T-Mac Pulling Strings

Tommy McNamara was the man who earned NYCFC a point in Colorado last time out and West Nyack’s finest could be an important figure once again on Saturday.

Only David Villa and Andrea Pirlo have created more chances for the Boys in Blue than Tommy’s 62 since the team entered the league in 2015.

With Alex Ring rated as questionable and with Herrera out, the home team may well need the creativity McNamara can bring to the table.

The 26-year old added to his portfolio of stunning long-range strikes with his opener at DSG Park – what are the chances of him adding to his 13 goals for the club in East Hartford?

The Playoff Charge

Five games to go, all to play for…

Following a run of two games without a victory, NYCFC returns to the field vs. a team they’ve not lost to in two previous meetings.

Although this game will be taking place away from Yankee Stadium, it’s still a chance to get started on another home unbeaten run after we were defeated by Portland in the Bronx two weeks ago.

With Chicago back to winning ways last time out and with Atlanta in red hot form behind them, it’s important that Vieira’s men rediscover their winning touch on Saturday to head off the competition for that second bye to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

READ:Injury Report – Matarrita Returns for NYCFC vs. Houston Dynamo


Houston arrive in Connecticut with plenty to play for themselves…

Wilmer Cabrera’s side have the opportunity to move into the MLS Playoffs berths with a victory following a difficult run of results in recent weeks.

Dynamo lost to San Jose and Colorado in their last two fixtures and are without a win in a month, meaning NYC could be facing off against that most dangerous of opponents: A wounded animal.

With Erick Torres only behind Diego Valeri in the Western Conference scorers’ leaderboard with 14 for the season, they also have a forward who can hurt any team.

Vieira warned: “It’s another tough game, there’s no doubt about it. They’re fighting for a spot in the playoffs, the same for us as well.”

Road Troubles

That said, Houston have struggled on the road in 2017.

The West’s seventh-place team have lost nine of their last 15 games away from the BBVA Compass Stadium and their 0.5 points per game on the road is the third worst in the entire league.

What happens on Saturday? Get yourself up to the Pratt & Whitney Stadium on Saturday to find out…

READ:NYCFC vs. Houston Dynamo – How to Get There

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