NYCFC vs Atlas F.C. preview: First game of the Leagues Cup

-NYCFC and the rest of MLS join Liga MX in the Leagues Cup

-The Pigeons will first play Atlas F.C. before taking on Toronto FC

-Check out the preview of the game against Atlas below

NYCFC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 Major League Soccer season has not been kind to New York City FC.  They sit in 13th place in the Eastern Conference and have a total of 26 points.  Goals are hard to come by, and small mistakes tend to lead to the loss of points. 

Now, there is a break in the regular season, for NYCFC, the rest of MLS, and Liga MX are all playing in the Leagues Cup.  Of course, the Pigeons have to make it out of the group round in order to play more than two competitive matches, for if they fail to move on, then they will have almost a month without games.

As such, the Pigeons will play against Atlas F.C. to open up their group round of the Leagues Cup.  The Mexican side finished the Clausura of Liga MX in ninth place, winning just four of their 17 fixtures.  So far this season, the team sits in seventh place in the Apertura after three games. 

With the Leagues Cup starting this weekend, let’s take a look at the preview between NYCFC and Atlas.

When is the match between New York City FC and Atlas F.C.?

The match will take place on Sunday, July 23, at 7:00 PM.

Where is the NYCFC game?

The game will take place in Queens, NY at Citi Field.

Where can fans watch the NYCFC game?

Fans can catch NYCFC on Apple TV via the MLS Season Pass.  This game will be available for free.  Fans can also catch the game on regular TV via FS1 and UniMas.

What can New York City FC expect from Atlas?

New York City FC can expect an Atlas team that has been struggling as of late too.  As mentioned, they finished in ninth place in the Clausura last season, and before that, they finished in 17th place in the Apertura.  It was a major downfall from when the team won the final phase of both tournaments in the 2021-2022 season.

Additionally, this is the second time NYCFC is facing Atlas.  The Pigeons beat their opponent in the Campeones Cup in 2022.  Of course, they were struggling at that point.  But this time, it is difficult to pinpoint whether Atlas will be a difficult team to beat, for they have only played a few fixtures thus far. 

Still, knowing the track record of the Pigeons, and the fact they lost or drew against teams they should have beaten, it would not be shocking for the match to be a difficult battle.  Similar to NYCFC, they lost quite a few players in their summer transfer window, including their top goal-scorer, Julián Quiñones.  Then, they have not brought in too many replacements.  So, it is a toss-up with what can be expected.  When all is said and done, it will come down to whether the home team can score.

Which NYCFC player should supporters watch?

The NYCFC supporters should watch everyone in the Starting XI.  The pressure to find success is immense, for the MLS season has been a failure thus far.  Every single player must be at 100% on Sunday.  Losing, and even drawing, is not acceptable, for loss of points can easily see the team ousted from the Leagues Cup. 

Nick Cushing will also be under pressure as well.  Sometimes, his lineups are questionable.  Hence, will he make the right choices?  If he does not, then will his Starting XI be the reason for the loss of points?  Or will the players step up regardless of who is on the pitch?

What is the prediction for New York City FC?

New York City FC knows winning is the only option.  Yet, they have played against teams that, at the time, were deemed weaker or a team they should beat.  Alas, that was not the case, and often draws or losses were the outcomes.

Therefore, the prediction is that NYCFC and Atlas will draw, 1-1.  The Pigeons will be the better team at the end of the day, but the misfortunes will continue.

With that being said, the team can move on with four points.  However, they need to score, for goal differential could come into play.  Will New York City FC move on in the Leagues Cup?  Based on this season, the likelihood is slim to none.