NYCFC vs D.C. United preview: Trying to hang on to playoff hope

-NYCFC and D.C. United will play each other one final time in 2023

-The two teams played earlier in the season and the Pigeons came out victorious

-Here is a preview of the upcoming game

James Sands of NYCFC
James Sands of NYCFC / Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC knows their future is no longer in their hands.  They can win their final two matches and not make the playoffs due to the movement around them.  But they must win: that much is true.

This weekend, NYCFC will travel to the Capital and face D.C. United.  The home side will have the pressure piled up on them, for they will be eliminated from the playoffs with a draw or loss.   Even a win will not be enough. Like the Pigeons, they are heavily influenced by other teams in the standings. 

Therefore, it is expected the two teams will battle it out.  Alas, the away struggles for NYCFC will be on the supporters’ minds.  Last week, they continued to show why they are not good on the road.  They had a 1-0 lead but gave up the tying goal in stoppage time.  The Pigeons need to steal all three points to keep their playoff hopes.

Let’s not waste more time.  Here is a preview of the game 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, October 7 at 7:30 PM.

Where is the NYCFC game?

The game will take place in Washington, D.C. at Audi 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.   

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

New York City FC can expect a D.C. United team desperate to win their final match of the season.  They lost terribly to Austin FC on Wednesday, putting their playoff chances on the line.  Truthfully, a win will not do the trick, and the Capital side will probably see themselves eliminated from making the postseason.  Still, they will want to get a win in their last fixture, especially because it is in front of their fans.

Of course, the biggest threat on D.C. is Christian Benteke.  The striker has 14 goals in Major League Soccer this year.  He has been a bright light for a not-so-solid season.  Additionally, he scored in NYCFC’s 3-2 win over D.C. in March.

However, the biggest threat to NYCFC will be themselves.  Silly mistakes and the inability to capitalize on goal-scoring chances will be their downfall regardless of how D.C. plays.   

Which NYCFC player should supporters watch?

NYCFC supporters should watch Mounsef Bakrar.  The Algerian has scored four goals in all competitions since joining the Pigeons.  Three of the four have come in MLS. 

For someone who only arrived this summer, it is an acceptable statistic for a new player, especially since he is still adjusting to the league.  Yet, some are already declaring him as not good enough, and it is easy to see why.  In MLS, he has 25 shots.  He has missed quite a few opportunities, including clear-cut chances where he should have scored. 

That is why fans should watch Bakrar on Saturday.  He is a threat in the attack, but can he add another goal or two before the end of the year?  Or will some attack the player who was only signed a few months ago and is adjusting to his new home because he did not score?    

What is the prediction for New York City FC?

New York City FC has to win.  There is no question.  But D.C. will be desperate as well.

While the overall prediction is negative, the prediction for this fixture is a little more positive.  NYCFC will find a way to win and beat the home team, 2-1. 

Two games remain before the end of the regular season.  The playoff hopes remain.  Nonetheless, they are slipping away.  New York City FC has lost out on too many points throughout the year. Ultimately, that will be the reason for their downfall despite Saturday’s result.