By Rich Mancuso/Sports Editor
Perhaps they are still getting to know who they are because New York City FC in three games complied two point in the standings. But is is early in the season and coach Patrick Vieira has put different players on the field in the first four games.
Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, NYCFC did not change the tune as they played New England to a 1-1 draw. That’s three straight games now in the Bronx that resulted in two draws and a loss.
“Of course we aim to do better than that but at the end I am really disappointed tonight about the way we played more than the result,” Vieira said Saturday. “Because I think that if you pretend winning games you need to play we didn’t do it tonight and we ended in a draw.”
He added, “If you analyze the game properly we happy with the way, with the points that we take tonight because we deserve more. Of course something we need to work on. Two points is not enough in three games,”
Though it is early in the game for this coach and his team. But there should be some level of concern because New York City FC is not finishing the job, and in the end wins do make the difference to determine who goes to the postseason. The next game is against Chicago on Sunday April 10th in the Bronx, so there is time to figure who are the right players to put on the field and close a game for a win.
And in defense of the coach, he has had to utilize substitutions. With players called away for international play, some minor injuries and getting the right combination on the field, there is time to get this right. But it is a game that goes fast and a season that also moves rapidly so there is limited time to get it correct.
Four games into the season and consider the following to determine if this is a concern for the first year coach: Jefferson Mena and Kwadwo Poku made their first starts of the season Saturday. Mena Mena made his season debut, Steven Mendoza made his first start, Tommy McNamara scored his second goal of the year and first header for the team, Diego Martinez made his club debut in the 28th minute, Mehdi Ballouchy made his second consecutive appearance.
Tony Taylor has started all four games. You need consistency on the field and different combinations of players used as it is in sports makes it that more difficult to get a win.
“It is my responsibility to choose the players,” said Vieira. “I decided to change because we didn’t do well. I couldn’t take out Tony (Taylor) or Mendoza or Andrea (Pirlo) or anybody else. I thought my decision was the best.” And in defense of the coach, he is trying to get the right combinations on the field and get the wins.
Under the circumstances, there may not be another alternative. Not like baseball that is played on the same field often in the Bronx, soccer works differently. There are a limited number of players on the trade market and the coach has to use what is available.
But with New England down a man for almost 30 minutes because of a red card, NYCFC could not capitalize and that is a cause for concern.
“Yes. but of course you want more,” said Vieira when asked if there is a concern. “I don’t want to point the finger on any individual. It is a team. It is important for the players to understand that you express your talent through the collective. If the collective is not good it is difficult for any players to play. Today was a perfect example.”
The perfect example would be to get a win and the necessary points. And the consensus is that has to begin against Chicago.
“Our team is still coming together and you can see the character of our team still in development,” said Mena the defenseman. “They (New England) played very strongly. As a team we need to get better each week to get the results that we want.”
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