This week’s high-profile game in MLS features two teams that are looking to move up in the standings and strengthen their chances of making the playoffs.
Houston Dynamo at New York City FC, Thursday, 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Go
MLS free pick: Draw
New York City FC is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 35 points, just a point behind D.C. United. But with only 21 games played, they have 3-4 games in hand on the top four teams in the standings. Only seven points out of first place, NYCFC will look to make up some ground with these games in hand.
With Héber’s scoring (nine goals so far on the season) and Maximiliano Moralez facilitating the attack (six goals and 13 assists), coupled with playing home games on the small Yankee Stadium field, you have to like New York’s chances to move up the ranks. Still, New York is going to need more production from the rest of the team to have a chance against the better teams in the league. Sean Johnson has been fairly solid in goal, but the offense cannot stagnate at this point.
A beautiful, sweeping opener from the Boys in Blue ✨
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 14, 2019
Houston sits in ninth place in the Western Conference, but is just three points out of playoff position. The Dynamo attack is led by Mauro Manotas (eight goals, five assists) and Alberth Elis (seven goals, seven assists), and they’ll continue to get production from those areas. Where Houston has been struggling is on the defensive end, where it allowed 36 goals (-4 goal differential). If Houston has any chance to get over the hump to make the playoffs, the club will require inspired play from its back line.
Mauro Manotas just beat the Toronto defence all on his own. pic.twitter.com/UAS9dOycMm
— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) July 21, 2019
Houston and NYCFC are used to playing in tight spaces, and that’s why this match will be exciting and go down to the wire. Look for goals on both sides, but it ultimately ends in a 2-2 draw (+1175).