NYCFC will take on former Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke, now the RSL boss. (Photo courtesy of Real Salt Lake)
One down, two to go and No. 2 comes at Real Salt Lake Wednesday.
New York City FC continues its tour of the continental U.S. time zones with a game in Sandy, Utah Wednesday night. That would be in the Mountain Time zone.
City is coming off an impressive 1-1 draw at FC Dallas Sunday night. That would have been in the Central Time zone.
And on Sunday, NYCFC returns to the Eastern Time zone against Orlando City SC Sunday night.
But first things first, Wednesday’s encounter at RSL.
City head coach Patrick Vieira is expected to change his Starting XI for this match because it is the middle of a three-game in eight-day stretch.
“It’s important for us to put out a strong team that will try to win the game as it’s not an easy place to go to,” he said. “They are of course in a difficult period but they have a good side and I’m not sure on the injuries they might get back for this game. I will put out a team that will compete and of course try to win the game.”
Directed by former Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke, RSL sits 10th out of 11 teams in the Western Conference with a 2-7-2 mark. City, on the other hands, is on a four-game unbeaten streak and is in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 5-3-2 record.
RSL looks forward to the possible return from injury for long-time standouts captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Rimando is only one save away from becoming Major League Soccer’s all-time leader in that category (1,475), joining his active MLS marks in wins (185), shutouts (131), games (431), starts (431) and minutes (38,911).
“They’ve been unlucky,” Vieira said. “They’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot of players who maybe haven’t played at their best but when you look at their roster, they have quality players. They have individuals they’ve got pace and power. We need to be at our best if we want to take something from the game.”
Vieira and company have plenty of challenges. Besides the eight-day stretch, RSL has never lost to NYCFC, outscoring its foes, 5-2.
“This is our second game away from home and after the first one against Dallas I strongly believe that we got a really positive point,” he said. “We time we need to recover because of the travelling – we don’t have so much time to work on the field but we will spend a lot of time in the video room and talk about what we want to get out of the game against Real Salt Lake.”