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NEW YORK CITY FC vs. CHICAGO FIRE at Yankee Stadium

NYCFC led the Eastern Conference for a decent chunk of the season and can possibly clinch their first playoff berth this weekend with a win and a little help, while the Fire have the league’s worst record at just 27 points after 28 games played, making them the only team in the league averaging less than a point an outing.

But this is MLS, and you can’t count out even the cellar dwellers — as Columbus and Houston both showed with away victories this past weekend. So while things might appear to be tilted in the hosts’ favor, the Fire can still play spoiler.

That’s especially true with Frank Lampard’s calf injury, which will keep him out of Friday night’s match for NYCFC. Lampard has played well since he came off early-season calf struggles, with 12 goals on the year.

NYCFC is within a win of clinching a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs after extending their home undefeated streak to six matches with their 2-2 draw vs. FC Dallas on Saturday evening. Jack Harrison set up both NYCFC goals; he has three goals and five assists for his rookie season. The Fire concluded a three-game homestand with a second result, reaching a 2-2 draw with D.C. United on Friday evening at Toyota Park. David Accam scored his eighth goal of the season. The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Tommy McNamara scored a goal and an assist – the first goal of the 2016 MLS season – and Mix Diskerud and Khiry Shelton also had a goal and an assist as New York City FC claimed a 4-3 win in the season opener March 6 at Toyota Park; the teams reached a goalless draw April 10 at Yankee Stadium.  The teams have reached a draw now in both meetings lifetime at Yankee Stadium. They have split the two meetings at Toyota Park, the Fire winning there April 24, 2015 in the first meeting ever between the clubs.

REFEREE: Jaime Herrera. AR1 (bench): Craig Lowry; AR2 (opposite): Andrew Bigelow; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 4 games; FC/gm: 28.5; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 1; pens: 1

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NYC: R.J. Allen
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NYC: Ronald Matarrita … CHI: David Accam, Joao Meira
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): NYCFC 1 win, 6 goals … Fire 1 win, 6 goals … Ties 2. At Yankee Stadium (2 meetings):NYCFC 0 wins, 2 goals … Fire 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 2

The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Tommy McNamara scored a goal and an assist – the first goal of the 2016 MLS season – and Mix Diskerud and Khiry Shelton also had a goal and an assist as New York City FC claimed a 4-3 win in the season opener March 6 at Toyota Park; the teams reached a goalless draw April 10 at Yankee Stadium.The teams have reached a draw now in both meetings lifetime at Yankee Stadium. They have split the two meetings at Toyota Park, the Fire winning there April 24, 2015 in the first meeting ever between the clubs.Coaches record: Patrick Vieira vs. CHI: P2 W1 L0 D1 … Veljko Paunovic vs. NYC: P2 W0 L1 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)
4/10: NYC 0, CHI 0

The Fire looked to have taken the lead at the hour mark when defender Jonathan Campbell headed home from a set piece, but the goal was ruled out after referee Mark Geiger consulted with a linesman.NYCFC took 19 attempts at goal, and Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson was credited with eight saves for the shutout. NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders was not called upon to make a single save.NEW YORK CITY FC (4-1-2-3): Josh Saunders – Andoni Iraola, Frederic Brillant, Jason Hernandez, Ronald Matarrita – Andrea Pirlo (Federico Bravo 72) – Mix Diskerud (Kwadwo Poku 90), Thomas McNamara – Steven Mendoza, Patrick Mullins (Tony Taylor 66), David Villa.CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Matt Lampson – Rodrigo Ramos, Johan Kappelhof, Jonathan Campbell, Michael Harrington – Michael.

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