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Keys to the Match: Adjustments

March 20, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
New York City FC News Release

New York City FC travel to TQL Stadium on Saturday.

The Boys in Blue return to action in a 7:30pm ET kick-off at TQL Stadium.

Here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Ford...


New York City FC will need to make several changes to the team when they take on FC Cincinnati with international callups and suspensions influencing the situation.

While those absentees are disappointing, it affords an opportunity for other members of the squad to step in and make an impression. The likes of Agustín Ojeda, Strahinja Tanasijević, Malachi Jones, Andres Jasson, and Alonso Marínez are all ready and eager to step into the team. It is for these moments that Nick Cushing pushed hard for strength and depth on the roster, with City's Head Coach also able to tweak how his team line up tactically.

The team have previously played in a back-three system under his guidance, and a return to that would share similarities with FC Cincinnati's most likely set-up - which plays out as a 3-4-1-2 system.

Regardless of the formation chosen, City will attack Saturday's contest with the same intensity as last weekend against Toronto, and it may allow for a new name to become the hero in Ohio.

Road Gains

New York City FC are well aware of the challenge a road game poses.

The combination of travel demands, a raucous home crowd, and a myriad of unfamiliar conditions and psychological factors make away games challenging for visiting teams - particularly in MLS.

City had a tough time on the road last season and they are keen to correct that in 2024.

Nick Cushing felt the team were unlucky not to take a point from their opening day trip to Charlotte FC and they will be keen to claim points in Cincinnati this weekend.

The first of two back-to-back road trips for the team, it could be transformational if they can take points away and make those vital road gains.

Star Man

Lucho Acosta currently leads the league for Key Passes this season with 18 - three more than second place Carles Gil.

The diminutive Argentinian is the reigning MLS MVP and managed 17 goals and 14 assists last season. That tally meant Acosta was involved in 54% of the team's total goals in 2023, with Pat Noonan's system affording Acosta significant freedom to dictate the play in the final third.

Much like with Lorenzo Insigne last time out, the pathway to success for New York City FC may rest in making sure that Acosta remains quiet on Saturday - something that is far easier said than done.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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