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Jun 13, 2024 7:14 pm

New York City FC, Crew carry winning streaks into clash

New York City FC

Winning streaks are on the line when New York City FC host the Columbus Crew on Friday at Yankee Stadium.

NYCFC (9-5-2, 29 points) have won five straight and eight of nine to move into a third-place tie in the Eastern Conference, and they will be even stronger with the return of Maxi Moralez.

The 37-year-old midfielder came off the bench in the 74th minute vs. San Jose on May 31 for his first appearance since Sept. 2 of last season, when he sustained a ruptured right ACL injury. In his limited time, he still managed an assist in the 5-1 rout of the Earthquakes.

Moralez has 26 goals and 70 assists in 167 regular-season matches for New York City since 2017.

“I think you have certain players in the game that can literally just pick the game up and just put it in his pocket and just almost conduct the game like the conductor conducts the orchestra,” NYCFC coach Nick Cushing said. “He’s that guy.”

The Crew (6-2-6, 24 points), tied for sixth in the East, have won three straight — all on the road — and will be happy that the attention on them will be focused on the field for their first MLS match since May 25.

They suffered an embarrassing 3-0 loss at Mexico’s CF Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions Cup final on June 1. Afterward, Crew coach Wilfried Nancy said more than 20 players and staff had suffered food poisoning in Mexico and that contributed to their poor performance.

He is defiant that the Crew are a dominant force in the region.

“There is a debate between MLS and Liga MX (Mexico),” he said Tuesday. “I’m not of this type of debate because for me, we can compete against any team.”

Since that match, general manager Tim Bezbatchenko accepted the role of president for Black Knight Football, which includes AFC Bournemouth of the English Premier League, and assistant general manager Issa Tall was promoted to replace him. The Crew also parted ways with assistant GM Corey Wray.

Adding to the upheaval, homegrown midfielder Aidan Morris, a two-time MLS Cup winner, is reportedly set to transfer to England’s Middlesborough in July.

It is unclear if he will be available Friday.

–Field Level Media

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