New York City FC is currently sitting with four points in the Eastern Conference and has looked very impressive in its two matches. The scouting report on NYCFC will vary depending on whether certain "older" stars play or not and whether they are home or away. The report is based on the lineups of the first two games and Frank Lampard not playing, because he never plays for NYC.
New York City has played with two formations. The first was an away match at Chicago where they looked to be in more of a 4-3-3. The second match vs. Toronto saw them in a 3-4-3 (the old W-M formation), which could be more of their home-field formation due to the small Yankee Stadium pitch. The four midfielders clog the center of the field, and they use their outside forwards to spread the back line out to give their explosive center forward opportunities to get to goal. Their back line can be inconsistent at times, and they look to the outside midfielders to pinch back in defense.
David Villa (7) - CF
He is one of the best strikers in the league. He is great in situations where he has the ball at his feet while taking on one or multiple defenders. He makes dangerous runs behind the defense and connects with the midfield, and he is one of the few players in the league that you have to account for every minute he is on the field. He is a tenacious competitor and given an opportunity, he will punish back lines. He is good for a goal a game.
Andrea Pirlo (21) - CM
Pirlo is the central midfielder that will connect passes and change the point of attack for New York City FC. He is past his prime and he lacks the pace he once had, but he still is able to make great passes. He is an absolute liability in defense and teams can count on him not to come back and defend. He won't get stuck in on tackles, but if he gets the ball he will create dangerous situations.
Mix Diskerud (10) - Outside Midfielder
Diskerud is the heart of NYCFC. He does well to serve balls in and possess the ball well. He picks up and defends and he also covers for Pirlo and his lack of defending. Diskerud can find the back of net as well from distance, like he did in the Orlando City home opener last year. Although he works hard, he is an average defender and can be beat in 1-v-1 situations.
What to Watch
The key to keeping New York City FC from getting points is keeping Villa off the score sheet. Teams that have been successful in keeping him from creating dangerous situations usually find a way to win. The goal will be to get Villa to have his back to the goal and play balls back to the midfield. If he is facing the goal and attacking at the back line, it will mean doom for any team that plays him. He is an emotional player, so physical play can help.
New York City FC is another team that lacks many players off the bench that can change the tempo of a match. The team is wasting a designated player spot with Frank Lampard, who hasn't seen much field time and doesn't do much when he is on the field. They will bring on some subs, but if NYC is behind they don't have a change-of-pace player that can come on the field and change the outlook on the game.
The NYCFC back line will give up a lot of shots. Josh Saunders is a decent shot stopper, but he does give up the occasional weak goal. The problem is in Yankee Stadium and the size of their small field. The field doesn't lend teams a lot of the space, so there are a lot of shots from distance. The style of play forces teams to maximize runs in minimal space, which causes teams to take shots from distance without much success. The aim should be to attack at the center backs and catch some of their older players on the counter attack.