Despite the bad weather expected at RFK Stadium, New York City FC will look to continue their late playoff chase against D.C. United Friday night
By Jeff Weisinger
With just three games left in the season, New York City FC still have a chance to sneak into the playoffs with a win Friday night against a currently struggling D.C. United side looking to hang onto their playoff hopes (7 p.m. ET, UniMas). The question is, who’s going to bring the storm?
Both teams will meet Friday night at RFK Stadium for the second time this season – the Blues won the previous matchup 3-1 at Yankee Stadium back on Aug. 13.
“I think wins always bring out confidence and good spirits,” midfielder Frank Lampard said. “We came back from Vancouver very happy and we’re focused now, focused to keep the wins going.”
NYCFC (10-14-7; 37 points) enters Friday night’s match on a three-game win streak after defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 in dramatic fashion last Saturday. The third-straight win marks the second time the Blues have won three in a row – NYCFC had their first three-match winning streak from May 30-thru-June 21 after snapping an 11-match winless streak.
“I think we’ve been playing better, we’re training well, and now it’s just a case of giving it a go,” Lampard added. “There’s not much to it other than that, it’s just to carry on and be ready for the game.
NYCFC has outscored opponents 6-4 during their current stretch, however it’s the teams that they’re beating that makes this win streak special. NYCFC has taken down Toronto FC (2-0), the San Jose Earthquakes (3-2) and the Whitecaps (2-1) during the stretch, all three of which have potentially high-powered offenses.
“As I said I think a lot of this is just down to time,” head coach Jason Kreis said. “I felt like right before we added all the new players we were coming to a really good point. I think everybody had a good continuity and a good idea of what we’re after. Then I think we added a bunch of new players and took a step backwards. But now I feel we have taken two steps forward, so I feel like we are in a good spot right now at the exact time. Let’s just hope it’s not a little bit too late.”
NYCFC can continue to catch up in the playoff chase with a win against D.C. United Friday night. D.C. has struggled in the home stretch of the season, losing five of their last six with their only point coming in a 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids on Sept. 13. Their last win came against the Montreal Impact, 1-0, on Aug. 9.
D.C. United currently holds the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference table with a 13-12-6 record and 45 points to their name. A win by the Blues could make a significant impact in the standings, continuing D.C.’s current collapse while bringing NYCFC one step closer to stealing the sixth seed.
“We have won the last three games,” captain David Villa mentioned. “But because we’ve had an irregular season, we don’t have much time. Therefore, we have to win the last three games. We’ll focus on the first one which is D.C., and hopefully we can have a good game and get the three points. We’re hoping the results from the other teams are favorable for us. This is all we can do right now.”
Villa’s strategy of going a game at a time while winning out is the best thing NYCFC can do for themselves at the moment. They currently trail both Orlando City (10-13-8; 38 points) and the Montreal Impact (12-11-6; 42 points) in the standings and need the Impact to virtually collapse for the rest of the schedule to sneak in. Both Orlando and Montreal play each other tomorrow night, in a match that could either seal NYCFC’s playoff fate, or continue to give it life.
If NYCFC defeats D.C. Friday night and the Lions beat Montreal tomorrow night, both OCSC and NYCFC come within a game of taking over the sixth seed in the East. The Blues play at Orlando City on Oct. 16 in a match that would determine who could take Montreal’s spot.
Overall, the Blues and the rest of the NYCFC supporters need Montreal to lose out the rest of their schedule to have a realistic chance to sneak in. Montreal starts a four-match in 14 days road trip at Orlando Saturday night.
“It’s not about mathematics, we just have to win all three games, and hope the other teams lose since they have more points than we do,” Villa added.
“There’s not much else to think about; it doesn’t matter if the game is away or at home, we just have to win.”
For more, follow Jeff Weisinger on Twitter – @MrWeisGuy
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