It’s the final ‘Marquee’ matchup at Yankee Stadium in the 2016 regular MLS season, NYCFC vs the LA Galaxy. I got the opportunity to witness the team training on Wednesday ahead of the match and speak with Jack Harrison regarding this challenging game.
While all eyes are going to be on the dynamic duel of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, I looked to the young Englishman Jack Harrison on his perspective of the match up. “…it’s a big game…so we’re trying to prepare as much as we can,” said Harrison regarding the LA Galaxy coming to Yankee Stadium for the first time in NYCFC history.
Aside from the high power attack of the LA Galaxy, featuring the likes of Gyasi Zardes, Robbie Keane, & Giovanni Dos Santos, Harrison has a few players in his sights. Steven Gerrard being one of them, Harrison said, “He’s always been an idol of mine…so I’m excited to get that opportunity.” NYCFC being a star-studded lineup as well, Harrison believes that “having that experience around you helps everyday”.
Another idol for Harrison that he may personally spend more time with this match is Ashley Cole. “Another great player…so I’m looking to find different ways around him,” said Harrison regarding the potential matchup between him and defender Ashley Cole.
Harrison came under some light criticism after his last few performances where he did not shine as bright as he had before. In particular, he’s drawn much attention of the opposing defense, immediately being double teamed when he receives the ball. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately…and talking with the coaches as well and just kinda figuring out different things I can do here and there to mix things up a bit.” He’ll certainly need to mix things up against a Galaxy defense that has allowed roughly half the goals that NYCFC have allowed.
NYCFC is currently sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference by a mere point over Toronto FC and surely look to increase that margin this Saturday when the LA Galaxy come to town. Though it will prove to be a challenging matchup, NYCFC are training hard and head coach Patrick Vieira is making sure we have the best lineup against one of the best teams in the league.