By Tyler Trent
NYCFC's Keaton Parks celebrates his goal against Portland (Photo courtesy of NYCFC)
What We Have Seen So Far
New York City FC (NYCFC) are unbeaten in their last six matches coming into this Wednesday’s matchup against Charlotte FC. However, only one of those six matches has resulted in three points.
NYCFC has had an up-and-down season so far, with stretches where they looked like a playoff-caliber team, followed by long stretches where they have struggled to score or gave up too many goals in a match.
Of course, New York will come into this match looking for revenge, as Charlotte FC has come away with all three points in all previous matchups between the teams.
OUT: Thiago Martins, James Sands
From MLSsoccer.com's Player Availability Report dated 7/1/23.
Players to Watch
Gabriel Pereira – Gabriel Pereira has by far been NYCFC’s best player this season. He currently has six goals and three assists on the season. Nathan Byrne or Jaylin Lindsey will likely have their hands full once again this week playing against one of the better right-wingers in the league.
Keaton Parks – Parks is a strong midfield player that will cover a lot of ground and provide defensive work but has also provided on the offensive end with two goals and an assist this year. Parks is a strong passer of the ball, both in his own half and in the opposition’s half. Parks has been a mainstay in the team this season starting all 21 games.
The NYCFC Starting XI
New York will likely use a lineup similar to their starting eleven against Portland Timbers on June 24. A dangerous front three of Talles Magno, Santi Rodríguez, and the aforementioned Gabriel Pereira will look to take on a Charlotte FC backline that has struggled consistently throughout the season.
The NYCFC lineup versus Portland (Image from MLSsoccer.com)
The NYCFC passing network versus Portland (Graphic found on MLSsoccer.com)
NYCFC zones of control* this season (Graphic found on theanalyst.com)
As shown in both graphics above, Talles Magno is extremely important to NYCFC's attack. On the left wing, he strongly influences the team's offensive identity, even though this season has been more difficult for the young Brazilian.
What's On the Line?
New York City FC is in a similar position to Charlotte FC this season (and much of the Eastern Conference), consistently shuffling through positions near the playoffs. This will be an important battle at this point in the table as Charlotte FC currently sits one place above NYCFC with a game in hand.
This game could prove a big opportunity for Charlotte FC to push further ahead of an opponent close in the table. For NYCFC, this game could break their funk against Charlotte while continuing an important undefeated streak for the team.
*For the zones of control, blue symbolizes areas on the field where NYCFC has had at least 55% of total touches. Red represents areas where their opponents have had at least 55% of total touches.