Villa and Ray

Know Your Opponent: NYCFC

This week the Union (4-8-3) get their second visit of the season from new expansion side New York City FC (1-7-5).  The game is in PPL Park on Saturday June 6, with kickoff at 7 p.m.. The game will be broadcast on The Comcast Network.

What you need to know:

Playing their home games in the famous Yankee Stadium, New York City FC is one of two new expansions teams that were added to the MLS in 2015. Their journey to creation has been in the works since 2012, when MLS commissioner Don Garber began negotiations with City Football Group, owners of Manchester City, to bring a second team to the New York City market.

Shortly after the club was announced, they team brought in former Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis to be the head coach and to help bring in players. Among the teams big name signings were former Barcelona FC and Spain star David Villa, United States Men’s National Team star Mix Diskerud and former Chelsea FC and England star Frank Lampard, though Lampard has yet to play for the club due to his contract at Manchester City which expires July 1.

The team will be without Diskerud, however, after he was called up to participate in the USMNT upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany. Diskerud has played started and played in 11 games for NYCFC this year, scoring one goal.

Players to watch out for:

David Villa, Forward: The captain and star of NYCFC, Villa was one of the first players to be officially signed by the team last June. On the season, Villa has three goals and two assists, meaning he has contributed in at least 50 percent of the team’s goals.

Khiry Shelton, Forward: Shelton joined NYCFC in January when he was the second overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Shelton, a forward out of Oregon State University, has been one of NYCFC’s surprise players, and has even played well enough to get a call-up to the United States Men’s National Team U-23 team earlier this season. Shelton has one goal and one assist in 2015.

Medhi Ballouchy, Midfielder: Ballouchy is an MLS journeyman who has found a home this season with the NYCFC. Known more for being a holding midfielder who rarely makes his way up the pitch, Ballouchy has still managed to score three goals this season, putting him in a tie for leading goal-scorer on the team with David Villa.

Probable line-up:


Goalkeeper: Josh Saunders
Defenders (left to right): Jeb Brovsky, Chris Wingert, Jason Hernandez, Shay Facey
Midfielders (left to right): Sebastián Velasquez, Andrew Jacobson, Patrick Mullins, Medhi Ballouchy
Forwards: Adam Nemec, David Villa

Facts and Figures:

The Union are 1-0-1 against New York City FC, with a 1-0-0 record against them at PPL Park. In their last match-up on April 15, the Union played NYCFC to a draw in Yankee Stadium after C.J. Sapong scored an 86th minute goal to level the score at 1-1. Both teams had played each other five days prior at PPL Park, with the Union picking up the 2-1 win.

NYCFC are a team that has struggled on the road, losing four games and drawing two. They have only managed to score three goals away from Yankee Stadium while letting in eight.

The Union are coming off a 3-0 win at home against Columbus Crew SC, while New York is coming off a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

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