New York City FC aced a monumental test last weekend against the rival Red Bulls, but now is hardly the time to let up.
Heading to the West Coast, NYCFC faces a struggling Los Angeles Galaxy team Saturday that has failed to find cohesion this season. The matchup provides an opportunity for David Villa to build on his first hat trick with the Blues and keep distance ahead of the Red Bulls in the standings.
Villa has carried the team, but others have been largely silent. This match could provide Jack Harrison the opportunity to get going again. He’s been goalless since June 29, but has eight this season and remains the second-highest scorer behind Villa’s 17.
The Galaxy (6-11-5, 23 points) have recent addition Jonathan dos Santos, who has yet to start a game. He will be asked to jolt a beleaguered squad that has struggled at home, posting a 1-4-6 record. New head coach Sigi Schmid has only two games with the team, adding to the turnover.
The picture hasn’t been rosy for NYCFC (12-7-4, 40 points) lately, however. While the 3-2 win over the Red Bulls provided an exclamation point, there are other humps to get over. A 4-0 loss to Toronto on July 30 put it their weaknesses on display.
Increased depth can help down the stretch. Khiry Shelton returned Aug. 6 after an early-season injury, and the 24-year-old winger has a prime opportunity to make his presence felt after a long absence.
If the offense can become more diverse, alleviating pressure on the defense would be a big help. A leaky July followed a locked-down June, and a big offensive weekend would provide a needed breather.
But if NYCFC gets through the end of summer with increased contributions, the club will be looking toward its most exciting fall yet.