New York City vs Colorado Rapids: Preview and Prediction

New York City FC will welcome Colorado Rapids for their first visit to the Citi Field since 2022.

This weekend, all eyes turn to Citi Field as the Colorado Rapids make their inaugural visit to take on New York City FC in what promises to be a captivating MLS encounter. It is a match-up that has not graced the regular season since 2022, injecting a fresh sense of anticipation into the clash.

NYCFC enter the fixture buoyed by a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Charlotte FC, thanks to a late-game heroics, propelling them to sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Similarly, despite a recent setback against FC Cincinnati, the Rapids find themselves occupying the sixth spot in the Western Conference standings.

Recent outings have highlighted NYCFC’s resilience, evidenced by their ability to secure seven points from their last four MLS matches, even after conceding the opening goal. Cushing, who faced early-season scrutiny with just one win in their first seven matches, will undoubtedly take heart from his team’s recent resurgence.

The Boys in Blue have established a fortress at Citi Field, boasting an unbeaten record this season and a run of four consecutive regular-season fixtures with at least a point, including three wins. A triumph on Sunday would not only extend their streak but also match their longest winning run under Cushing’s tenure.

Meanwhile, under the stewardship of Chris Armas, the Colorado Rapids have undergone a notable transformation this season. With 15 points from 10 matches, they’ve already eclipsed their previous campaign’s tally, marking their best start since 2021.

Armas, renowned for his association with the Red Bull model of high pressing, has instilled a more possession-oriented approach with the Rapids. Despite occasional deficits, they have displayed resilience, amassing eight points when conceding the opening goal or trailing in the second half.

On the road, the Rapids have proven to be a force, matching their total number of away victories from the previous campaign and accumulating eight points. However, historical encounters against NYCFC have posed challenges, with their last visit resulting in a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium in 2022. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up for the game and their tactics.

Team News & Tactics

New York City

Maxi Moralez remains sidelined for New York City FC due to his right ACL rupture sustained last season, while Talles Magno has been training with the team but may not be fit enough to make his return from injury. Additionally, Rio Hope-Gund’s availability is in question due to a leg issue.

Strahinja Tanasijevic made his debut in NYCFC colors last weekend and could be in contention once again to feature. The home side are expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation on the night. Matt Freese should start in goal as the last line of defence. He should be protected by the back four of Mitja Ilenic, Thiago Martins, Birk Risa, and Kevin O’Toole.

Keaton Parks and James Sands should form the double pivot, adding a protective barrier and giving the trio of Hannes Wolf, Santiago Rodriguez, and Agustin Ojeda the freedom to push forward. Monsef Bakrar should lead the line upfront for New York City FC once again.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Freese; Ilenic, Martins, Risa, O’Toole; Sands, Parks; Wolf, Rodriguez, Ojeda; Bakrar

New York City vs Colorado Rapids: Preview and Prediction.

Colorado Rapids

The Colorado Rapids will have to navigate the next few weeks without Connor Ronan, who is sidelined due to a knee injury. Jonathan Lewis also missed last week’s match due to a hamstring strain, while Sam Vines returned to action after clearing concussion protocol.

Jackson Travis remained on the bench as an unused substitute, recovering from a previous leg injury. Adam Beaudry is back in training but was not part of the lineup against Cincinnati.

The visitors are expected to lineup in a 4-2-3-1 formation themselves with Zack Steffen in goal. He should be protected by the back four of Keegan Rosenberry, Moise Bombito, Andreas Maxso and Sam Vines.

Oliver Larraz and Cole Bassett should act as the double pivot with the trio of Omir Fernandez, Djordje Mihailovic and Kevin Cabral the freedom to push forward. Rafael Navarro should lead the line on the night.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Steffen; Rosenberry, Bombito, Maxso, Vines; Larraz, Bassett; O. Fernandez, Mihailovic, Cabral; Navarro

New York City vs Colorado Rapids: Preview and Prediction.

Key Stats

  • A win on the night will see New York City extend their winning streak to four games this season, their longest such winning run in the current campaign.
  • New York City could go undefeated at the Citi Field this season if they avoid defeat on Saturday.
  • Avoiding defeat on the night will see New York City secure a point from a team from the Western Conference for the first time this season.
  • Colorado Rapids have picked up 15 points after 10 games this season, their best start to a MLS campaign since 2017.
  • A win on Sunday will see Colorado Rapids win away to New York City for the first time.

Player to Watch

Julian Fernandez

Embed from Getty Images

The Argentine has two goals and an assist to his name in New York City’s last three MLS clashes. He will once again be a key player for the home side as they seek a fourth win on the trot.

Fernandez has largely been an impact player, and his purple patch at the moment will give the home side hope of keeping their unbeaten home run against Colorado intact. As long as he can make a difference, there is every reason to believe that NYCFC can once again come out on top.


New York City 2-0 Colorado Rapids

New York City FC are discovering their best at the right moment, and the team is slowly yet surely finding its rhythm. Colorado Rapids, too, have improved and should present a goalscoring threat on set-pieces. However, the home side have better quality at their disposal and should come out on top.

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