New York City FC vs D.C. United preview: First meeting of the season

New York City FC
New York City FC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, New York City FC is set to face D.C. United in the fourth match of the Major League Soccer season.  The team is 1-1-1, and would prefer to get their second win in front of the home crowd. 

The okay start predominantly has to do with the lack of goals.  Excluding the own goal that led to the win against Inter Miami CF, only Gabriel Pereira has scored.  Thankfully, the defense is starting to gel, so that should help the team even if they continue to struggle in the goal scoring department. 

Nevertheless, the Pigeons cannot win unless they score, and scoring is a must.  In the past, there have been quite a few impressive wins against D.C., including the 6-0 win in 2021. 

So, here is a quick preview for the upcoming fixture between NYCFC and D.C. United.

When is the match between New York City FC and D.C. United?

The match will take place on Saturday, March 18, at 7:30 PM.

Where is the NYCFC match?

The game will take place in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium.

Where can fans watch the NYCFC game?

Fans can catch NYCFC on Apple TV via the MLS Season Pass.

What can New York City FC expect from D.C. United?

New York City FC can expect a different D.C. team compared to the last couple of seasons.  This is now Wayne Rooney’s first full season in charge, just like Nick Cushing.  As such, his players are a little more adjusted to what he wants from the team, and likely they will pose more of a challenge. 

However, like NYCFC, there have been multiple player changes for the 2023 season.  Talented players like Tyler Miller, who took the reins in goal, and Mateusz Klich, were brought in, and D.C. hopes the newcomers will make a difference. 

The opposition is also 1-1-1 in their first few games, so they will be chasing another win.  As such, the Pigeons must keep an eye and terminate any goal scoring attempts by Christian Benteke.  The striker will likely get the start, and while he has not blossomed with D.C. as of yet, NYCFC does not want to give him any opportunity. 

Which NYCFC player should supporters watch?

Santiago Rodríguez is the NYCFC player to watch for NYCFC.  After a brief reintroduction in Chicago, he received the start against Miami, and played very well.  He had three shots with two on target, and maneuvered through the midfield with ease.  His passing percentage could have been higher, for it was just at 79%.  Still, when he was accurate, it provided opportunities into the box. 

Hence, after a solid match against Miami, it is expected he will grow back into the team even further.  It will be interesting to see whether the Uruguayan continues to get better in every game he plays, and really flourish in the number ten role.  

Look for Rodríguez to not only be a provider, but continue to be an attacking threat.  Plus, NYCFC is struggling in the goal scoring department, so do not be surprised if he decides to take more opportunities for himself.  The defense for D.C., while improved, is still questionable, so it would not be shocking if he is able to score based on how he attacked against Miami. 

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What is the prediction for New York City FC?

While New York City FC is struggling to get goals, D.C. is a team they can beat, especially at home.  So, it is predicted that the Pigeons will get another win, by either a 1-0 or 2-0 score line.  Pereira or Rodríguez are players who are the most likely to score, but do not count out Talles Magno, especially if he is moving in from the wings toward goal.