Real Salt Lake travel to New York City FC and Yankee Stadium on Sunday, with both squads in need of a reprieve (1pm ET). Will either side be capable of resuming winning ways following a string of below par results? Our aim with this preview is to shine a light on the likely result and give our betting predictions with picks to get the better of the best of the USA bookies.
The hosts come into this game lacking in confidence. They have failed to win either of their last two domestic fixtures, losing to both the Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC. They were dumped out of the CONCACAF Champions League by fellow Americans Seattle Sounders just a few days ago, losing by four goals to two on aggregate. Wednesday’s tie against the Sounders marked five games in all competitions without a win for Ronny Deila’s men.
Like the hosts, the RSL squad approach this fixture off the back of three games without a win, though after a couple of ties that don’t look too bad on paper, the visitors probably aren’t as down in the dumps as Saturday’s hosts. After all, they have won three of their last six, only one of which they’ve lost, so it’s not all doom and gloom, as their current position of third in the Western Conference suggests.
Aside from their 4-0 win over Montreal, which was a prime case of everything going right in the final third, NYCFC have found it tough to impose themselves this term, scoring only five times, failing to score in three of their five Major League Soccer games.
A lack of end-product has been apparent, that’s for sure, though their main issue seems to be a lack of creativity, which is showcased by their rather underwhelming xG numbers. Saturday’s hosts did deliver their best effort in terms of expected goals last time out in the league, producing 1.5 against TFC. They are still averaging just 1.14 expected goals per 90 minutes, which isn’t good enough, especially when 11 of the other 13 teams in the east are averaging more.
Fortunately for NYCFC, Sunday’s visitors have encountered similar issues on the road. Losing just one out of four traveling fixtures, Pablo Mastroeni’s men have done a great job on the surface, but if this preview subjects their efforts to a little more scrutiny, then it’s easy to conclude that they’re not exactly flying offensively. For starters, they have failed to score in two out of four, scoring more than once just once, while an average of 1.12 expected goals for doesn’t exactly scream offensive power.
Recent head-to-head record
It has been a few seasons since this pair crossed conference boundaries and met on the field, with the last meeting coming back in 2019. On that occasion, RSL won by three goals to one on home soil, and it is they who’ve dominated this fixture in recent years, winning four of the five renewals since NYCFC’s arrival in Major League Soccer back in 2015. At least three goals have been scored in each of the last four meetings between New York City FC and Real Salt Lake.
Get behind a lack of goals at Yankee Stadium
If you’re looking for a way to play this fixture, then opt for a low scoring affair. The hosts have been hugely uninspiring from an attacking point of view so far this campaign, and although their last couple of efforts haven’t been appalling from a creativity point of view, what with them producing xG figures of 1.2 and 1.5, they’ve still struggled to get the ball in the back of the net. Interestingly, only the Chicago Fire have failed to score more times than NYCFC this term.
Moreover, there’s been a lack of goals in RSL’s away games in general, with only one of their four traveling fixtures producing more than two goals.
If opting for a low-scoring game isn’t your idea of a bet, or if you’re looking for something additional, then take the visitors with a goal start. OK, there has been nothing exciting about what they’ve done on the road so far, but they have developed a habit of grinding out results, even against strong sides. After all they picked up a gritty win on the road against the New England Revolution, who won the Eastern Conference last season, while they tied away against the Colorado Rapids, who won last term’s Western Conference.
Such form points towards the visitors being capable of getting something from this fixture. What’s more, they have had the luxury of an entire week to prepare for this game, which is not something NYCFC have enjoyed. Don’t forget, they had a tough continental game against the Sounders on Wednesday evening.
Sergio to score
Real Salt Lake forward Sergio Córdova has scored just once so far this term, but something about his performances suggests that it won’t be long before the Colombian adds to his tally. The former Bundesliga player comes here off the back of three consecutive starts, in each of which he has looked both lively and threatening. He is averaging an eye-catching 0.46 expected goals per 90 minutes in an RSL shirt. The 24-year-old also averages 2.77 shots per 90 minutes. Against a tired and downhearted NYCFC backline, the forward is worth betting on to get his second goal since his summer switch. As a result, these are the betting predictions and picks for this NYCFC vs RSL preview: