The XI: Matarrita Returns vs. Minnesota

The XI v Min

Head Coach Patrick Vieira has made two changes to his team for Thursday night’s clash with Minnesota United.

Ronald Matarrita has returned to the starting line-up for NYCFC’s first-ever meeting with the Western Conference side.

The Costa Rican international makes his first start for more than two months in place of RJ Allen, lining up at left back with Ben Sweat moving to the opposite side.

A high ankle sprain kept Matarrita out of action through May and his return was disrupted by another minor injury, meaning this is his first start since the win at Philadelphia on April 14.

Both Ronald and Rodney Wallace will leave to join up with Costa Rica for the Gold Cup following this clash.

Elsewhere, Eirik Johansen takes up the gloves with Sean Johnson away with the USMNT in Conneticut but otherwise, it’s the same XI which won the Hudson River Derby on Saturday.

David Villa spearheads the attack with Wallace to one side and Jack Harrison on the other, while Yangel Herrera, Alex Ring and Tommy McNamara make up the midfield three ahead of Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot, Matarrita and Sweat.

NYCFC are on the hunt for a fourth successive MLS victory which would tie the club’s all-time record for consecutive wins, while Minnesota are chasing a first road win.

READ: How to follow NYCFC vs. Minnesota Utd

NYCFC XI: Johansen, Sweat, Chanot, Callens, Matarrita, Ring, Herrera, McNamara, Harrison, Wallace, Villa (C)

Substitutes: Rawls, Allen, Brillant, Lopez, Pirlo, Camargo, Okoli

Key Stats

  • New York has scored six headed goals this season, tied for the fifth most of any MLS team. Minnesota has conceded seven headed goals this season, the most of any MLS team.
  • New York is unbeaten in their last four home games (3W-1D). They are averaging 2.3 goals over that four game stretch. NYCFC started the season 2W-1L-1D at home and averaged 2.0 goals per game to start the campaign.
  • Minnesota has yet to win a game away from home this season (6L-2D). In their most recent road game they fell to Real Salt Lake 1-0. It was the first time they had not conceded multiple goals in a road game.
  • In 1,037 minutes with Sam Cronin on the field, Minnesota has conceded an average of 1.3 goals per 90 minutes played. In 591 minutes without him, that number increases to 3.5 goals conceded per 90 minutes played.
  • Alexander Ring leads all MLS players with 71 tackles this year. No other player in the league has more than 59 tackles.
  • Minnesota has scored 10 and conceded nine goals in the opening fifteen minutes of second halves so far this season. Both totals are the highest of any MLS team.
  • In his ninth ever MLS appearance, Ben Sweat notched his first goal and had his third assist in MLS play against New York Red Bulls last weekend. Joevin Jones (5) and Kemar Lawrence (4) are the only defenders who have had more assists so far this season.
  • Miguel Ibarra’s assist last weekend snapped a six game streak without any assists in MLS play. It was only his third assist in 15 MLS appearances.
  • Kevin Molino had five key passes against Vancouver, tying his MLS career high (3rd time with five key passes in 52 regular season appearances.)
  • NYCFC have won 31 regular season matches that David Villa has appeared in. Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Red Bulls was just the seventh time Villa failed to score but NYCFC still managed to win. They have won an additional three games when Villa did not feature. 
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