Soccer is back in The City Beautiful! The first MLS regular season match of 2019 is upon us and City is taking none other than three-time home opener opponent, New York City FC. Here's what you need to know about Saturday's opponents, known as the Pigeon's:
The big news out of NYCFC this offseason was the loss of David Villa and many wondered how the Bronx based club would replace their Spaniard goal scorer. The answer, Alexandru Mitrita. The 23-year-old Romanian joined as a Designated Player from Universitatea Craiova where he tallied 12 goals and four assists in his 16 appearances in the 2018/19 season. Other notable additions to the NYCFC roster include U.S. Youth International Keaton Parks who joins on loan from Benfica and former Lion Tony Rocha who was acquired through trade.
On the flip side, NYCFC parted ways with names like Rodney Wallace, Yangel Herrera, Saad Abdul-Salaam and Jo Inge Berget.
You have to take preseason results with a grain of salt, but NYCFC didn't have the most spectacular preseason on paper just looking at results. The Pigeon's wrapped up preseason 1-1-3. The only win came against Nashville SC on Friday. The losses came at the hands of FC Copenhagen, Minnesota United and your Lions. NYCFC averaged less than a goal a game in their recorded preseason fixtures.
As previously mentioned, Orlando City got the best of the NYCFC in the latest meeting between the two sides in the Orlando City Invitational. In 2018, the Lions were unable to take a point from NYCFC in three meetings against NYCFC, but City has a favorable 1-1-0 record against the New York side in home openers. We all remember Kaká's equalizer in 2015 and then opening Orlando City Stadium with a strong 1-0 win.