Having fallen into eighth place in the Eastern Conference, New York City FC will try to rebound from a two-game skid at 7 tonight when they host the Eastern Conference-leading D.C. United.
Sunday's match against the Red Bulls marked the first time NYCFC's superstar trio of Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa were all featured in the starting lineup together, but the affair ended in a frustrating 2-0 loss for the expansion club.
Here are three concerns for NYCFC (6-11-6, 24 points) as it attempts to get its season back on track against D.C. United (13-7-5, 44 points).
Lampard slowing down?
Upon debuting with NYCFC midseason, Lampard has had difficulty adjusting to his new life in the MLS. The English midfielder botched two early scoring chances against the Red Bulls and had a major defensive lapse that led to the Red Bulls second goal before he exited the pitch in the 86th minute.
Lampard admitted after Sunday's loss that he has not had enough time to train with his new team and get his fitness up to peak level, but at 37 years old, he simply may not be able to help out as substantially as NYCFC would have hoped.
Struggles on D
Jefferson Mena was supposed to help solidify NYCFC's back line when he was signed last month, but the Columbian center back has not looked sharp in his three matches, having started the last two. Mena, 26, had his most recent snafu in the first half against the Red Bulls when he had a crossing ball sail between his legs and into the feet of Bradley Wright-Phillips for an easy goal in front of the net.
He is another player who is being challenged with adjusting to a new team midseason, but NYCFC needs more stability from its defense to have a shot at a legitimate playoff push with 11 regular season matches remaining.
Eye on Rolfe
Despite being outshot, 25-1, against Montreal on Saturday, D.C. United survived with a 1-0 victory as forward Chris Rolfe made the lone shot count for the only score of the match. It was Rolfe's team-leading ninth goal of the season, and he now has three goals in his past two games. He figures to create problems for NYCFC's defense.