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Keys to the Match: Mirroring

July 1, 2022 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - New York City FC News Release

New York City Football Club welcomes Atlanta United to Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

Here's the Keys to the Match, presented by Ford.

Home Again

NYCFC have finished their run of three road games and now return to the Boogie down Bronx this Sunday.

A game at Yankee Stadium often brings out the best in NYCFC's players and the backing of a home crowd serves as extra motivation to put in a worthy performance. Buoyed by the midweek fight back against FC Cincinnati, the players are keen to get home, rest up, and come out on Sunday in search of a victory.

It's always nice to spend Sunday with the family, and this week the Boys in Blue will get to do just that.


"We have the type of players that enjoy connecting passes, enjoy having possession, enjoy attacking continuously," Pineda said. "And that's how we find joy. By playing forward and trying to attack and attacking more than the opponent. We find joy in that."

New York City Football Club and Atlanta United have a shared appreciation for possession. If that was not intriguing enough, under Gonzalo Pineda Atlanta also prefer to use a 4-2-3-1 formation, albeit with some noted differences in the type of players that inhabit those roles.

Contests in which both teams favor possession can make for interesting tactical battles, with both sides keen to establish control through the ball.

NYCFC rank in the top three in MLS for total passes and accurate passes this season. Against FC Cincinnati midweek the Boys in Blue held 55% of the possession, and hit just shy of 500 passes. All in all, one of the key factors in this game may be which side settles into their passing rhythm first. A bright start could be vital for both sides, but one thing is for sure, it promises to be a day of beautiful football in the Bronx.

Watch Araujo

When discussing the most decisive player for Atlanta United eyes are understandably drawn to Josef Martinez.

The forward arrived in MLS from French side Lille and tends to play on the right wing. Despite this, he is not a player that seeks to consistently get to the end line and cross.

Instead, he prefers to sit narrow in what we call the half space where he can link up with Martinez. That combination may manifest as running beyond him as he did against Toronto FC to score, or dropping in the pocket to create and try from distance.

Either way, his blend of speed and trickery is a threat and one the team will need to manage carefully.

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