Major Keys: Will NYCFC Stay Perfect Through Three?

Orlando Major Keys

New York City FC are back in the BX on Saturday when Orlando City SC are the visitors.

Can the Boys in Blue maintain their 100% record through three? Here’s Managing Editor Mark Booth with the Major Keys to the Match, presented by Ford

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Keep it Going

Last weekend’s Home Opener win is likely to go straight into the pantheon of fans’ favorite Yankee Stadium encounters.

The 2-1 victory over LA Galaxy was an unforgettable occasion as 26,000 descended upon the Bronx to see in Season 4 in style.

That made it two wins from two to open the season and NYCFC have the opportunity to extend their best-ever start this weekend against our 2014 expansion cousins, Orlando.

Only four teams in MLS have 100% records after two games – how many of them will be able to say the same on Monday morning? It’s going to be a fun weekend finding out…

Midfield Pivots

Important to City’s chances, not just on Saturday, but for the season as a whole, are Yangel Herrera and Alex Ring.

The midfield duo were combative and dominant in the victory over Galaxy and the numbers when the pair are in tandem make for compelling reading.

Without one of the Finn or the Venezuelan, NYCFC averages 1.4 points per game since they joined the club in 2017 – a figure which rises to 2.2 when they are together.

It’s the same story for team goals scored, with the Boys in Blue finding the net 2.1 times on average per 90 mins, compared to 1.3 when one of them is absent.

In addition, Ring leads the league for tackles since the start of 2017 with 123, while Herrera is the MLS leader for duels won per 90 in the same year-long period with 10.7 per game.

Orlando Update

It’s a new-look Orlando City who will arrive in New York for this weekend’s clash.

With Kaka and Cyle Larin moving on in the offseason, Jason Kreis has brought in Dom Dwyer, Sacha Kljestan, Justin Meram and Lamine Sane, to name but four.

On the back of so many changes, perhaps it’s unsurprising that the Floridians are still in search for their first win of 2018 as their newcomers bed down into a new system and build chemistry with the players who were there last year.

Will it all come together for the Lions on Saturday afternoon? The majority inside the stadium will be hoping it takes at least another week…

Welcome Back

It won’t just be Orlando City’s Head Coach who will be back on his old stomping ground on Saturday… RJ Allen is also in line for a Yankee Stadium return after he joined the Lions in the offseason.

A fan favorite over the course of his two years and 53 appearances with NYCFC, RJ will be sure to be given a warm welcome on his first return to the five boroughs since he departed.

Head to Head

NYCFC’s record against Orlando was improved by our last game against them – an emphatic win in Florida, but we’ve still got work to do on that front.

The Lions held it over us for the most part in our respective first years, largely thanks to the goals of Cyle Larin who has now moved on to Besiktas.

Ten games have now been played between the two sides and Orlando have won half of them, with NYCFC winning just twice.

Interestingly, we’ve shared 30 goals in those ten meetings and they’ve been split equally, 15 apiece.

Party Time

Of course, we couldn’t let this article pass without making mention of the fact that Saturday is St Patrick’s Day and where better to celebrate than with a gameday afternoon in the Bronx?

With a limited edition green scarf available for purchases, as well as themed food offers, it promises to be a carnival atmosphere out there, even if there will be more blue than green on display...

We can’t wait!

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