Matchday 16 Preview: New York City FC

Matchday 16 Preview: New York City FC

Photo Credit: Gabe Aragon

Photo Credit: Gabe Aragon

FC Cincinnati and the New York Neo-Nazis face off during a FIFA International Date which means this game should not be happening. Both sides will be without good players, starters, all because MLS can't make a schedule that conforms to the basic outline of the sport. I'm not even advocating a Fall-Spring schedule, that's not necessary. But just taking the time off during FIFA dates lets teams compete at their best. What if we played Open Cup games during the international dates? Anyway, two practice squads face off this Thursday, hopefully FCC doesn't embarrass themselves.


FC Cincinnati has moved into a post-form mindset. The Pride was able to ask interim manager Yoann Damet how close he was to having the team play the way he wants them to, and Damet responded "60%". Which means the last three games or so has been a second preseason. Cool. At least the players seem to have bought in.

For the Fourth Reich, they haven't lost a game since March, and they only lost one. Which means they're really good at not losing. They've drawn three out of their last 5, and have looked like one of the best teams in the east so far this season. Which is just great isn't it?


Photo Credit: Gabe Aragon

Photo Credit: Gabe Aragon

I don't want to harp on it too much, but the storyline of this match is going to be the missing players. Sean Johnson, New York Proud Boys's starting keeper will be missing and both teams will be missing key defenders. In total New York will be without 4 players, while Cincinnati will also be without 4.

NYCFC has had a fantastic run of games recently, but only sit in 6th in the East. You could make a real argument for them being the best team in the East right now, and if they want to continue to be in the conversation they need to be able to walk over doormats like ol' Cincinnati. For FC Cincinnati, despite missing four starters, they need to stop the bleeding and get a result on the road. A win, or even a draw, would be a great sign going into the heart of the summer.

Players You Should Know or Might Know

This could have easily been three players named Sean Johnson, Ebenezer Ofori, and Ronald Matarrita, but all of them are out on international duty. So here's a few other guys to keep an eye on.

Maxi Moralez

Two goals and four assists will make you a vital member of any team. For Moralez, he has been one of the best players in MLS since joining in 2017. He is a tremendous passer of the ball, spraying balls all over the final third and finding that final ball that completely unlocks a defense. He's also a bit of a hot-head, who is known to lash out with a cynical challenge, which means Cincinnati fans will just love watching him.

Alexandru Mitrita

This left winger came into MLS as one of the most expensive acquisitions of all time. Which is a bit weird for an MLS team to spend so much money on a winger, and not a striker or playmaker. But Mitrita has done a good job of not embarrassing his bosses. We'll likely see him beating Hoyte on a fancy dribble a few times, and maybe adding to his three goal tally.

Brad Stuver

That's not a typo, his name is Stuver not Stover. I know, it's weird. Also weird, he's only played four MLS games since the the start of the 2016(!) season. That's not a lot of starts. And a backup goalkeeper can only mean one thing for FC Cincinnati: unrealistic optimism. Stuver only won one of those games by the way, with one draw and two losses. Get. Those. Hopes. Up.

Potential Lineup  

There are a few questions for this team: where does Hoyte Play? Is Bertone Healthy? Is Kenny Saief still on this team? Assuming Bertone is not healthy, Saief is still out, and Hoyte take over at right back, this is what I would expect to see:

Unavailable Players

FC Cincinnati      
Out: M - Jimmy McLaughlin (right ACL surgery)
Questionable: D - Greg Garza (right calf injury)*
Questionable: M - Fatai Alashe (hamstring injury)
Questionable: M - Leonardo Bertone (hamstring injury)
Questionable: M - Kenny Saief (hamstring injury)
International Duty: F - Darren Mattocks
International Duty: D - Kendall Waston
International Duty: D - Alvas Powell
International Duty: M - Alan Cruz

*If we see Garza again this year, it'll be a medical miracle. But he's questionable for this match...

New York City Na Zi

Out: D - Joe Scally (hip injury)
Out: F - Jesus Medina (ankle injury)
Out: D - Ben Sweat (ankle injury)
International Duty: D - Alex Callens
International Duty: D - Ronald Matarrita
International Duty: M - Ebenezer Ofori
International Duty: GK - Sean Johnson


3-2 New York wins it, but FC Cincinnati looks really good the entire match. Enough to appease the fans who are talking about "must win" games like we would fire the manager if we didn't get a win. Or maybe it’s a must-win because if we lose we’ll stop letting Berding make soccer decisions? Or just maybe it’s a must win because people want to see their team win again and they’re not sure how else to express that.

Kevin Wallace