Playoffs?! You want to talk about playoffs?!
The match between D.C. United and New York City has playoff implications for both teams. For United, it’s a win-and-in situation. For NYCFC, the task is much more daunting. New York would have to win their remaining three games against United, Orlando City and the New England Revolution. However, simply winning out is not enough: they’ll need some help. NYCFC will have to hope that the Montreal Impact, a team riding a six match unbeaten streak, go 1-4 in their final stretch of five games.
Fine Spanish Import
The United States has gotten many things from Spain: tapas, flamenco dancing, siestas. Whatever your love of tapas may be, chief among these may be a love of La Liga. Therefore, it’s fitting that a Spanish soccer import is making a huge impact in MLS.
, the former Barcelona and Spanish national team star, has made a huge splash in his first season with NYCFC. He leads the club with 17 goals on the season, and notched the game winner in New York’s Aug. 13 win against United. With a goal scored in two straight matches, and three goals and an assist in his last five, Villa will be riding a hot streak into his club’s first trip to RFK Stadium. The Black-and-Red will have to find a way to neutralize the Spaniard if they hope to end their slide down the standings.
Second Half Supremacy
The second half looks to be a key proving ground in this contest. For the season, NYCFC’s 33 second-half goals are tops in MLS. Meanwhile, D.C. United is tied for the fewest goals conceded in the second half of MLS contests this season, sitting with L.A. and Portland at 17 allowed.
Strong Shouts for Back-to-Back 'Keeper of the Year
, the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, is again in top form. He leads MLS goalkeepers with an 80% Save Percentage among qualified keepers according to OPTA. Even more impressive is the homegrown star's 73.49% Save Percentage on shots inside the box, which also leads the league. Hamid will look to continue his strong run of form against Villa, Lampard, Pirlo and company Friday night.