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3 Questions about NYCFC with Hudson River Blue

HRB's Jake Gofman stopped by to fill us in on what's happening in the Bronx, and also to deliver a brief defense of the town of Harrison.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Ready for some NYCFC? Get more ready with the help of Hudson River Blue's Jake Gofman, who has kindly consented to answer our questions about NYCFC, and also to give voice to his love and admiration for Harrison, NJ.

1. NYCFC is good now? How did this happen?

Blood Magic (where is George John?). Actually, this may have been something we had coming after some particularly painful losses and draws early in the season. If you go back and re-watch some of our early matches, you see that NYC was almost always controlling the flow of the game through its midfield play.

The stats back this up as well: In the stretch after our opening weekend win, New York was winless over seven matches, drawing four times and losing three times. However, during that stretch the team was never out-shot or out-possessed. In fact, it was never really that close – NYC averaged 59% of the possession and took 48 more shots than its opposition. It’s fair to point out that New York trailed and had to try and work its way back into some of these games, however, for the most part, NYC just looked more dangerous without putting the ball in the net.

Another important dimension to our "being good" is the tactical improvements Vieira made on a week-to-week basis. New manager Patrick Vieira is not afraid to do what is necessary to improve the team, and the growing pains we experienced early in the season might be paying dividends already. He’s been quick to replace an underperforming midfielder (et tu, Mix?) but has remained steady with our back four, especially now that our full complement of players is at his disposal.  Turning the corner after being winless in seven may seem like it came from nowhere, but in fact may have been an inevitability all along.

2. One win at home, three on the road: just a temporary glitch in Patrick Vieira's masterplan? Or is NCFC genuinely more effective outside Yankee Stadium, and if so, why?

We may genuinely not play well at home, unfortunately. Our weird skinny baseball stadium it not conducive to, how do I put this, playing good soccer, so both teams seem to struggle to create offense. We’ve had a few high scoring games there, but generally the play is disjointed. When we play away from home, we are able to employ a more tradition 4-3-3 formation that thrives on the counter or through steady build up play.

Additionally, some of our most dangerous attacking players (Villa, Shelton, Mendoza, and Taylor) enjoy being out in space, something the 4-3-3 enables them to do.

At Yankee Stadium, we are not afforded the same amount of space, so we tend to rely on our central midfield to create scoring opportunities. Early in the season, Vieira had us in a 3-4-3 W-M formation that intended to take advantage of the narrowness of Yankee Stadium. However, early injuries and learning the formation created issues for New York. Vieira seems to have abandoned that formation for now to go back to a more traditional four at the back set up the likes of which we used at home against the Whitecaps to get our first home victory.

It will be interesting to see how we line up this Saturday, but I can’t imagine Vieira returning to the 3-4-3 just yet, especially when we seem to be so comfortable with our current formation.

3. The latest MLS Salary information suggests Frank Lampard earns more than the entire RBNY squad put together. Do you even want him to play for NYCFC at this point? Could CFG not make the same statement simply by setting fire to a sack of $100 bills at every game?

On-fire sack of $100 bills is a solid player, I wish you wouldn’t disparage him like that. No, in reality the Frank Lampard saga is really more sad than anything else. He is a legendary EPL player, and the expectations were so high for him when he was signed, especially considering he was making a tangible impact in the EPL when it was announced. Injuries and fitness have been Frank the Tank’s undoing, and a slew of bad PR moves on CFG’s part have left fans with a sour taste in their mouths.

Would I like him to play? Sure, I think it would be nice to see a legend like Frank play, and play well. I’m just not sure how much is left in the tank these days. He is training and should be in the team this weekend, and Vieira has vowed that he will have an impact, but the kind of impact he has is anyone’s guess. I’m cautiously optimistic these days concerning Frank, but I’m also not losing a lot of sleep over it either.

Starting XI and Prediction?

Saunders; Matarrita, Brillant, Hernandez, Allen; Bravo, Pirlo, Diskerud; McNamara, Villa, Shelton

Good Guys get a win, finally! At home and riding high, NYC FC pull out a 2-0 victory with goals from Villa and Mendoza off the bench.

Go on then: say something nice about RBNY.

You were so kind as to answer this for us in a totally not-backhanded way, so I thought I would return the favor. I feel like just because Red Bulls are actually in New Jersey, everyone thinks it’s okay to just lambast them for being a lesser team in a lesser city. Well, I’m here to defend Harrison and all of its glory and remind some, educate other, of some of what makes Harrison special:

1. According to Wikipedia, the most famous people from Harrison include two MTV VJs, a mathematician, and Angelo "Chubby" Cifelli

2. 5.6% of Harrison’s population left between the years of 2000 and 2010 because they couldn’t handle its greatness

3. Diners looking to grab a bite before a Red Bulls game should consider the Wendy’s establishment on 401 Bergen, boasting nearly 3 stars on Google

Who said Harrison couldn’t stand up to New York City?

Thanks, Jake - I think if you drop one more Harrison fact, you're legally obliged to serve as the town's mayor for a term. Looking forward to petitioning you for improvements to the PATH station.

For OaM's take on RBNY, stop by Hudson River Blue.