All right, so the first game of the season didn’t go exactly as hoped, did it? And now D.C. United have hit the road to take on New York City FC. NYCFC lost their first game (away to Orlando City), so they’ll be looking to wrap up three points at home, while DCU will be aiming to make the statement they’d wanted to make last weekend.
So, will one team manage to snag the result they want? We’re...not really sure.
It’s NYCFC’s home opener after a 1-0 loss last weekend in Orlando. Meanwhile, the vaunted Black-and-Red attack has yet to make its 2017 debut, going scoreless in a draw against Sporting KC. If Acosta is healthy, I think we finally see the creativity we’ve been anticipating and we get a couple goals out of the matter. I don’t think we stop NYC from creating chances, but I think we keep them off the scoreboard. We get a result in the Bronx, winning 2-0 behind goals from Sam and Birnbaum.
My hunch is that Lucho will remain sidelined for at least the majority of this game, especially with the brutal weather and field conditions at Yankee Stadium. Nevertheless, I think both teams get on the scoreboard. The hosts strike first through—who else?—David Villa, and Patrick Mullins continues to haunt his former club, turning in a set piece to level the score before halftime. Things get crazy at the end, but nobody else finds the net, and Los Capitalinos claim their first ever point from the Bronx.
NYCFC may have lost 1-0 to Orlando at the debut of the Lions' new digs, but I thought they looked good in attack and they deserved more than they got. United, on the other hand, struggled going forward without Luciano Acosta in their 0-0 draw with Kansas City. I wouldn't bet on Acosta starting or playing at all on Sunday, but given the cold and wind that's predicted, I foresee another 0-0 affair with few chances generated.
Weird things always seem to happen when United goes to New York to play the Pigeons on their tiny baseball stadium field. Still without Lucho to break down the defense, the team is going to have a hard time; luckily, NYCFC play with 10 men and a statue of Andrea Pirlo. I'm going to go with a 1-1 draw, with the defense remaining strong and the offense starting to find a bit of a rhythm.
Luciano Acosta's availability may be in question, but there's no way that Lloyd Sam and Patrick Mullins are as quiet as they were against KC. And with NYCFC not willing or able to press as hard as the Sporks, we should see more from Julian Buescher as well. I think United starts this game out with a very early goal, with Sam picking out Mullins for a close-range header. United goes close several times to making it 2-0, but they can't bury the game early, and David Villa puts away the first NYCFC chance of the game (which comes from good work between Rodney Wallace and Ronald Matarrita). This wakes the home side up, and they're at their flowing best for a while. United holds on, but eventually gives away a second goal around the hour mark, with Wallace finishing following a scramble.
However, this time the goal jolts United awake, and we get another wild finish in the Bronx. Both teams pile up near-misses, and Patrick Nyarko hits the post, before Jose Ortiz prods home a late equalizer after Steve Birnbaum knocks a corner kick down in the area. 2-2.
D.C. retained most of the roster from last year, which to me says (based on nothing at all) they've retained their road woes. This is, after all, a team that won once over their last 11 road games, and goes to a place where they've maybe scored a few goals but ultimately wound up losing a close game. I think that repeats itself again here, with NYCFC outgunning DCU 2-1, as Villa and Wallace trump Nyarko's first goal for D.C.'s 2017 season.
Last week's draw against Sporting Kansas City wasn't a poor performance from United, but it highlighted the team's issues without Luciano Acosta. With Acosta unlikely to play against NYCFC, United will continue to struggle offensively on Yankee Stadium's awkwardly laid out field. David Villa scores twice as the Pigeons run out 2-0 winners.
I’m fully anticipating a weird game here. Still no Lucho (probably), freezing temps at kickoff, first road game of the season...I could believe any result at this point. However, my gut is telling me that the Black-and-Red don’t do enough to earn a win, though they’ll tease us by scoring first (heart you, Patrick Mullins). In the end, pesky David Villa equalizes for the home side, and the teams settle for one goal and one point each.
What are you predicting for this one? Let us know in the comments, but first! It’s silly poll time.