Teams: New York City FC vs Minnesota United FC

Kick-off: 05:00 AM, Yankee Stadium – Bronx, N.Y.

Where to Watch: Catch live action on DSPORT, this Friday

Season Goal leaders: New York City FC – David Villa (10 goals), Minnesota United FC– Christian Ramirez (9 goals)

On Friday, NYCFC will host Minnesota United at Yankee Stadium in the first match of Week 18. A number of MLS teams are preparing for midweek action, and New York City FC and Minnesota United are among that group. The match kicks off at 05:00 am IST on Friday, DSPORT will live telecast the match.

Both NYCFC and Minnesota United will try to maintain their undefeated streaks, but NYCFC have an upper hand as they’re coming off an impressive road win over a rival and have not lost in their last four. The Eastern Conference’s third-place side has also been playing some pretty good soccer, thanks to David Villa’s exploits up front and Yangel Herrera’s return in the midfield.

NYCFC are riding a three-game winning streak and four-match unbeaten run. Patrick Vieira’s attack has been clicking, with the club scoring two goals in each of those fixtures. Villa has led the way with a pair of goals and two assists, but he has had help from Jack Harrison.

NYCFC could still be without injured playmaker Maximiliano Moralez for this Friday bout but have found a solid replacement in Tommy McNamara. The club is relatively healthy aside from that, and should again have the strong central midfield of Herrera and Alex Ring on the field. Herrera and Ring helped boss proceedings against the Red Bulls and will aim to build on that impressive showing here.

Minnesota rallied to tie the Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-2, but were left frustrated with not prevailing in the Western Conference showdown. Minnesota have a strong side as Christian Ramirez, Miguel Ibarra, Kevin Molino, and Johan Venegas are all healthy and playing their top level game.

Still, Minnesota United need to sort themselves out defensively. The club has given up eight goals in its last four matches, and not posted a clean sheet since a May 27 meeting with Orlando City.

New York City FC

  • Suspended: None
  • Int’l Duty: GK Sean Johnson (USA)
  • Injury Report: OUT – F Khiry Shelton (hamstring injury); QUESTIONABLE – M Maxi Moralez (calf injury)
  • Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Eirik Johansen – R.J. Allen, Maxime Chanot, Alexander Callens, Ben Sweat – Yangel Herrera, Alex Ring – Jack Harrison, Tommy McNamara, Rodney Wallace – David Villa

Notes: NYCFC are unbeaten in their last four home games (3-0-1). They are averaging 2.3 goals over that four-game stretch. NYCFC started the season 2-1-1 at home and averaged 2.0 goals per game to start the campaign. … Alexander Ring leads all MLS players with 72 tackles this year. No other player has more than 59 tackles.

Minnesota United FC

  • Suspended: None
  • Int’l Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT – M Bernardo Anor (left lower leg injury), M/D Thomas de Villardi (left Achilles injury), D Joseph Greenspan (concussion), D Marc Burch (sports hernia surgery), F Abu Danladi (right thigh injury), D Vadim Demidov (left knee injury), D Brent Kallman (right knee injury)
  • Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Bobby Shuttleworth – Kevin Venegas, Jermaine Taylor, Francisco Calvo, Jerome Thiesson – Sam Cronin, Ibson – Kevin Molino, Johan Venegas, Miguel Ibarra – Christian Ramirez

Notes: Minnesota have conceded seven headed goals this season, tied for the most of any MLS team. New York, meanwhile, have three headed goals in their last four games, as many as they had in their first 13 matches. … Minnesota have yet to win a game away from home this season (0-6-2). In their most recent road game, they fell to Real Salt Lake 1-0. It was the first time they had not conceded multiple goals in a road game. … In 1,037 minutes with Sam Cronin on the field, Minnesota has conceded an average of 1.3 goals per 90 minutes played. In 591 minutes without him, that number increases to 3.5 goals conceded per 90 minutes played.

All-Time Series

This encounter will mark the first time these two sides meet.

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