Less than a week removed from his milestone night at RFK last Saturday, Patrick Mullins returns to the Big Apple for the first time since being acquired by United on July 20. The 24-year-old scored his first professional hat trick against the Chicago Fire in the Black-and-Red's 6-2 victory. Mullins, who played for NYCFC during their inaugural MLS season last year as well as the first several months of 2016, is leading United in goals and shots on goal and is second in conversion rate.
"He understands what we’re about and represents a lot of what I believe in," head coach Ben Olsen said. "His movement in the box has been good, he’s very hard working and the way he shapes the game defensively helps our entire team out ."
Mullins' first trip back to Yankee Stadium comes at the perfect time after his former team lost to Orlando City SC last Sunday, and the Louisiana native will look to get the better of an NYCFC defense that has allowed 45 goals, second-most in the league.
His counterpart, however, will keep Mullins' new teammates busy. David Villa hasn't slowed down since his arrival in Major League Soccer a year ago and is once again at the top of the scoring charts with 16 goals. In addition to his scoring prowess, however, Villa has played the provider role as well; even though the Spaniard has recorded only one assist, he's created 33 chances (good for second on the team).
Between the Bronx-based side (45 goals scored, third-most in MLS) and the Black-and-Red (seven goals in their last two matches), look for a high-octane matchup on the slightly-unorthodox pitch that is Yankee Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 PM on NewsChannel 8.