Both are undefeated to start the season, but NYCFC is still searching for their first win, while LAFC have started off theirs ideally with two wins in front of home crowds. After last Sunday’s match against the Timbers, Christian Ramirez explained, “we’re just growing from what we had last year and we’re continuing to believe in the style of soccer that Bob [Bradley] wants us to play and that we’re capable of playing.” Whereas LAFC is evolving into their style of play, a different story is unfolding in New York. With departures of names that had become synonymous with the club in its five-year history, including Patrick Vieira, Mix Diskerud, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, and finally soccer emblem, David Villa, NYCFC has by necessity had to herald in a new era. And it’s just starting. Domè Torrent, known for being Pep Guardiola’s assistant coach, is in charge of the Pigeons, but under his leadership, NYCFC had just three wins in the last three months of the 2018 season. Last week, NYCFC took 21 shots but didn’t net a single one. They’re still growing into the attacking style that Torrent promotes but it’s less elegant than Bob Bradley’s assertive style. And so far, less productive. Torrent has taken note of Bradley’s respect for playing positionally. One has to wonder if his four years as assistant coach at FC Barcelona is about to pay off dividends against the surging LAFC wave.
NYCFC Players to Watch:
Alexandru Mitriță – NYCFC’s newest star signing, ready to burst and get his first goal. He took 7 shots on his home debut.
James Sands – City’s first-ever Homegrown Player signing. He’s only 18 but he’s coming up as a potential replacement for Yangel Herrera. He needs time to develop but he could be one of those called upon to herald in the new post-Villa era.
Steven Beitashour – concussion
Lee Ngyuen – hamstring strain
Alejandro Guido – R Quad Strain
Phillip Ejimadu – Lower Back
F Rodolfo Zelaya – R Soleus
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi – Questionable