NYCFC vs Real Salt Lake preview: Heading out west

NYCFC / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC was supposed to return home and find success after a terrible road trip.  Instead, the team went 0-2-1, grabbing just one point out of nine.  Only two goals were scored, and six goals total were given up.  Of course, there was some controversy due to the refereeing, but things should have gone better.

Now, the Pigeons are heading west to take on Real Salt Lake.  The Utah team is 5-7-4, and currently sits in 9th place in the Western Conference.  Like NYCFC, they are struggling this season, but at least they currently sit in a playoff position.  At the same time, the team is having a good U.S. Open Cup run, for they will be playing in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, there is some good news for the Bronx side.  Both Braian Cufré and Tayvon Gray will be available, which is a huge help to the defense.  Although, there is still smoke regarding what Gray said to warrant a suspension, for Major League Soccer is not revealing any details. 

So, between the good news, and after a not-so-great time at home, here is the preview for the game between NYCFC and RSL.

When is the match between New York City FC and Real Salt Lake?

The match will take place on Saturday, June 10 at 9:30 PM.

Where is the NYCFC game?

The game will take place in Sandy, Utah at America First Field.

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 Real Salt Lake?

New York City FC can expect a Real Salt Lake team with confidence after a U.S. Open Cup win.  The Utah side recently beat the LA Galaxy to book a place in the semifinals.  In the last three MLS matches, the team is 1-1-1. 

Thus far, RSL has scored 18 goals in the regular season, and Jefferson Savarino has the most goals with four.  While there is no true threatening striker or attacker that the Pigeons will have to focus on, the goals are spread out.  Plus, with NYCFC’s record on the road, anyone can be a threat, so the players will have to defend like their lives depend on it. 

Moreover, RSL are known for their direct style of football, and always focus on getting the ball into the attack.  A relentless attack can tire out the visitors, so it is vital that the ball is kept away from RSL, and NYCFC leads in possession.

Which NYCFC player should supporters watch?

If he starts, then NYCFC supporters should watch Tayvon Gray.  Not only will it be interesting to see how he plays, but it will also be interesting to see how he handles the game mentally after the suspension.  Whether fans will ever find out what he said is yet to be determined.

Still, Gray has been good defensively, and likely he will play as a center-back since Maxime Chanot and Thiago Martins are unavailable.  This will allow the defender to focus on what he does best, and reduce the pressure of having to add to the attack when he is playing as the right-back. 

This also gives the American a chance to make a case that he is the back-up center-back, and should be the first option for Nick Cushing.  He needs to play one of his best matches of the season in order to make such an argument though, so that is why he is someone to watch this Saturday.

What is the prediction for New York City FC?

New York City FC wants to win on the road, but based on this season so far, it is difficult to see that come to fruition.  Goals continue to occur sparingly, and small mistakes have been the reason for the downfall away from home.

Hence, the prediction is that NYCFC will lose, 1-0.  The lone goal will be off of a corner kick, and with the exception of that goal, the Pigeons will play well. 

Next. Braian Cufré WILL be available for NYCFC on Saturday. Braian Cufré WILL be available for NYCFC on Saturday. dark

Ideally the team will shock everyone, and find all three points.  Nonetheless, that is unlikely.  Anything can happen in the beautiful game, but New York City FC is a team in a bad spot, and it is hard to see them fix their issues on the road.