United travel to Yankee stadium for the only time this season to take on David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and the rest of New York City FC Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7:00 PM on NewsChannel 8.
The Black-and-Red come into the match on the end of a crowded week-and-a-half stretch, playing Sunday at RFK, Wednesday in Montreal, Saturday back at RFK and now Thursday in the Bronx. The busy schedule hasn't hindered United, though, who are currently six games unbeaten and a point ahead of Orlando City SC for the sixth and final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference. On the contrary, D.C. are gaining confidence with every match and played one of their best games of the season last Saturday, convincingly beating the Chicago Fire 6-2 behind a Patrick Mullins hat trick and three-assist performance from Luciano Acosta. "We’re a tough team to beat," head coach Ben Olsen said. "But now we’ve got to be a team that can go on the road and get three points.”
Mullins returns to the Big Apple in impressive form, leading his new team in goals, averaging a goal or assist every 75 minutes for the Black-and-Red and was recently named the MLS Player of the Week. The two-time MAC Hermann Trophy winner was also named to the MLS Team of the Week (along with Luciano Acosta) and nominated for Etihad Airways Player of the Month. Acosta, meanwhile, tied the franchise record for assists in a game and is now the club's season-leader in the same stat.
Even taking into account United's positive run of form, Patrick Vieira's side won't be an easy opponent. New York City are currently second in the East with 41 points and have scored the third-most goals in the league with 45. Captain Villa has been prolific once again this year and is tied for the league-lead in goals with 16, while Frank Lampard has added nine goals of his own. Lampard's compatriot and this year's number one draft pick Jack Harrison is also making waves throughout the league and has scored three goals and added three assists in 14 matches. "We have a different challenge ahead of us now with New York," Olsen said. "They’re as good as they come in this league right now. It’ll be a different test.”
With Steve Birnbaum off on international duty for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers and Jared Jeffrey serving a one-game suspension from yellow card accumulation, look for several players to rotate into the Black-and-Red lineup on the end of a tough two-week stretch. While the teams are separated by four places in the standings, both have the exact same goal differential: 0.
The pre-game show is scheduled for 6:30 PM ahead of a 7:00 PM kickoff.