NYCFC will get a much needed reprieve from Major League Soccer action when they take on the New York Cosmos in knock-out tournament play.    

City will be dubbed the home squad, but the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matchup won’t take place at their customary home of Yankee Stadium, but rather the cozy confines of Fordham University’s Jack Coffey Field. 

The June 15 match, a fourth-round battle between the two New York franchises, will be the second head-to-head matchup of its kind in this annual event. Last year, the burgeoning NYCFC squad traveled to Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium to take on the North American Soccer League’s flagship franchise, falling to the Cosmos in a penalty kick shootout.   

The matchup will feature two squads that have been going in opposite directions in their respective leagues lately. While City (4-5-6) has earned a reputation for spending high salaries on imported talent, with nary an equal return on its investments, the Cosmos (6-3-0) are currently in first place in the NASL. The Cosmos are within striking distance of lifting their second-straight Spring Season trophy. If they garner three more points, beginning with their June 11 tilt against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (3-2-3), the Cosmos will be the toast of its league. 

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It’s a far cry to what NYCFC needs to get back into the race, but a win in this Open Cup would likely be a boost for them. City could definitely use the quick getaway to get their mojo back, as they’ve been in a bit of a rut lately. Perhaps going away – albeit a short trip – will serve them well, as NYCFC is 1-3-5 at home, but a respectable 3-2-1 away from the Stadium.    

Their next MLS matchup isn’t until June 18, home, against the first-place Philadelphia Union, so they could possibly use the Cosmos match as a springboard. Philadelphia (23 points) is only five points ahead of NYCFC, so it’s still not impossible to think that City can’t catch up and get back into the Eastern Conference race. The Blue will need to get their scoring back on track, though, if they want to be realistic contenders, as their current mark of 1.2 goals per game is second-to-last of the top six teams that qualify for the playoffs. Only the D.C. United (1.14) have a more anemic attack.   

NYCFC’s head coach Patrick Vieira previously addressed the non-scoring issues, and is hoping for a quick turnaround. Hopefully for City, the Cosmos can provide that. 

“We do not score enough with all the chances we create. We have to change something,” Vieira said following a recent disappointing showing against Real Salt Lake.  

Vieira has prodded his star-studded team to be more ruthless and aggressive, but reasoned perhaps the collection of worldly stars is actually working against them.

“We have to be more aggressive in front of the goal, we have to be more ruthless,” said the first-year manager. “For me, it is based on humility. We maybe have overconfidence and I think it has become a problem.”   

It’s ironic that Vieira thinks arrogance and overconfidence is dooming City, especially for a squad that is finishing less than nine percent of its goal-scoring possibilities in MLS play. But be that as it may, perhaps burying a few balls in the back of the net will finally be the impetus City needs to climb the conference standings and once again get a foothold in the New York, metropolitan market.    

 

Blue notes:  

- The U.S. Open Cup is over 100 years old and is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S. -- and the world’s third-longest-running open soccer tournament. The winner of the tournament qualifies for the group stage of the renowned Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Champions League. 

- YES Network, home of NYCFC, announced they will televise the event, at 7:30 p.m.   

- Along with YES Network, the match will also be shown live by One World Sports, which is the exclusive broadcaster of all Cosmos matches.