For all the struggles and lack of wins New York City FC has had on the road this season, they make sure to leave those behind before they return to the Bronx.
NYCFC has lost once at home during the MLS regular season in the past year, a September loss at Yankee Stadium. Now it returns after a winless two-game road trip to take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
The matchup surely is a welcome reprieve after five consecutive games against teams squarely in playoff contention. The Rapids sit 11th in the Western Conference at 2-5-2, 9 points.
The Blues (6-2-3, 21 points) will be looking to ride the renewed energy that Ismael Tajouri-Shradi provided late against Los Angeles FC last Saturday, when netted the equalizer in the 75th minute. The statistics indicate that would be a wise choice.
During the three games Tajouri-Shradi missed with a hamstring injury, NYCFC went 1-2 and only tallied three goals. He’s scored four of his five goals in a starting spot, the other coming on as a substitute against LAFC for the last 21 minutes.
His full-time return will give him more practice complementing captain David Villa, and he’ll place the club at full strength for a change. Villa, who will be honored Saturday in recognition of surpassing 400 career goals, has been finding the net of late, putting in three goals in his last three games even without the extra support Tajouri-Shradi could bring.
Having both options, along with Jesus Medina providing the assists from the midfield, couldn’t come at a better time. After Colorado, two of NYCFC’s next three opponents are first-place Atlanta United FC and fourth-place Orlando City SC.