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New York City FC-United FC Preview
New York City FC coach Ronny Deila has conceded his side are lacking confidence after a five-match winless run left them in real danger of missing out on the playoffs.
NYCFC suffered another damaging defeat to their rivals New York Red Bulls last time out, leaving them tied with their neighbors on 40 points in the Eastern Conference.
Next up for NYCFC is a tricky trip to Atlanta United on Wednesday. The Five Stripes are two points above Deila's team heading into the final weeks of the season.
"We have lost a bit of confidence in the last third of the pitch," Deila said after the defeat to the Red Bulls, with his side having failed to score in any of their last four matches.
"We have to get that back again. Against Nashville (earlier in October), we created a lot of chances. We conceded very little. That's just how we need to play.
"And of course when we create six or seven good chances against Nashville we have to take our chances. I know our level when we are good. We saw it against the Nashville team."
Atlanta, meanwhile, got back to winning ways by beating Toronto FC 2-0 at the weekend.
"We had six games left, and winning this one away was a very good statement from the team saying, 'Hey we really want to be in the playoffs,'" coach Gonzalo Pineda said.
"I need this trend for the next three games at home. I needed this confidence, this mood in the locker room after the game. It was a massive victory. I feel that the team understood how to play away."
Atlanta United - Marcelino Moreno
Marcelino Moreno was a star performer for Atlanta against Toronto, scoring with one of his seven attempts (four of which were on target) and also creating two chances.
New York City FC - Maximiliano Moralez
Maximiliano Moralez had 106 touches against the Red Bulls, yet only got off two shots, one of which was on target. He did make five tackles and win four fouls, but NYCFC need their playmaker to be more productive in possession.
●Including playoffs, the home side has won each of the last four meetings between Atlanta and NYCFC.
●NYCFC has never won at Atlanta (D1 L3, including playoffs), only taking a point in a 2-2 draw in April 2018.
●Since snapping a club-record 12-match winless run in early August, Atlanta has won nine of its last 12 matches (L3). Only New England (29 points) has more points in that time (since August 7) than the Five Stripes (27).
●NYCFC has recorded just one win in its last 11 away matches (D3 L7) dating back to the start of July. Five of NYCFC's last seven away matches have ended in defeat, including the last two.
●NYCFC is scoreless in four consecutive matches for the first time in club history. The only team to go scoreless in five straight matches since the start of the 2019 season is FC Cincinnati, who has done so on three separate occasions.
Updated October 19, 2021