Ronny Deila warned New York City FC not to underestimate Sporting Kansas City when the pair meet in MLS on Sunday.
The Pigeons have succeeded in three straight league fixtures, jumping to fifth in the Eastern Conference, after a 3-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.
The Boys in Blue could match their longest winning streak from the 2021 campaign, but coach Deila urged for caution when Kansas City visit.
“You can never underestimate a team like Kansas,” Deila said. “They are a big club, they are used to winning, they have a strong squad and a great history with being in the playoffs many times.
“We know that they’re going to start winning again soon and so we have to do what we’ve been doing by preparing really well focusing on the small details.
“It’s about what we put in during training, how we take care of ourselves, and how prepared we are tactically and mentally for the game.
“I think the most important thing is to understand why we are performing. Why are individuals performing and why is the team performing? When you know that you can replicate it over and over again.”
Kansas City, meanwhile, are on their longest regular-season run without victory since 2019, having failed to taste victory in their last five outings.
Coach Peter Vermes, however, believes his side are still moving in the right direction.
“We’re making steps in the right direction, but I think overall we’re still pretty frustrated,” he said.
“We really needed the three to start closing the gap that we’ve created for ourselves.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New York City FC – Talles Magno
Talles Magno picked up another assist in the win over the Quakes last game, his fifth in the league – only Jan Gregus (five) and Diego Fagundez (six) have more in MLS 2022.
Sporting Kansas City – Daniel Salloi
Daniel Salloi was on target in the 2-2 draw versus FC Dallas last match; he sits level on goals with Johnny Russell and Remi Walter at the top of Kansas City charts (all two).
KEY OPTA FACTS
·New York City has won their last three matches against Sporting Kansas City after Sporting won the first two meetings. The last match, a 3-1 home win for NYCFC, was in July 2019.
·New York City FC has won three straight matches, scoring 14 goals over the three wins. This is the seventh time in MLS history that a team has scored at least 14 times in a three-match span, with the Galaxy in June 1998 the only team to score more (15).
·Sporting Kansas City has lost seven consecutive away matches dating back to the end of last season, the second-longest road losing streak in club history. Sporting lost 16 straight on the road (inc. 3 breakaway shootouts) from May 1998 to June 1999, though never lost seven straight in regulation in that span.
·Keaton Parks scored New York City’s first goal against San Jose while Chris Gloster scored the third. Parks and Gloster are the first pair of Americans to score in a single MLS match for NYCFC since Tommy McNamara and Khiry Shelton in September 2016.
·Johnny Russell and Dániel Sallói each scored for Sporting against Dallas on Saturday, the seventh time both have scored in a single MLS match. The only pair of Sporting players to score in the same game more often in the last 20 seasons was Benny Feilhaber and Dom Dwyer (8 times).