Jefferson Mena hopes to rebound for NYCFC, Dallas encounter

by DAVE MARTINEZ

Jefferson Mena has been a streaky defender ever since joining New York City FC last season.

One match, he looks concentrated — a shutdown defender who can compliment any backline. And then you have outings like this weekend’s New England Revolution match, and you are left to wonder if that could be the same player.

Mena was victimized throughout the weekend’s match against a high-powered New England attack — a fact not lost on him. “We know we have been too loose these past few games,” Mena tells EoS. “We haven’t been compact, but that is why we have to work on it.

“I think we hope to have a good team, a fast team, well concentrated and do things correctly.”

Improving has been the mantra from Mena for many months. His journey with NYCFC this season has seen the player used throughout the backline, to a modicum of success. He has featured on either fullback positions and in his customary centerback role. “It’s nothing new to me. I’ve done it many times for the coach. He sees the conditions of the game and places me there,” he explains. “I am a centerback, a left sided centerback, but I try to do my best in any position I am given.”

While that flux is certain to upset his defensive rhythm, Mena doesn’t use it as an excuse. In fact, he says NYCFC boss Patrick Vieira has been honest about his play in each role, and in some cases, has declined experimenting further. “I’ve only played fullback on the right once and it didn’t turn out well. The coach put me again in the center, my natural position,” he recalls. “He is always trying to get the best of us.”

Now with five games remaining in their season and a tough opponent in FC Dallas visiting Yankee Stadium on the weekend, Mena believes it is a great chance to regroup and test their backline after a week of ardent training.

“We are OK, but not satisfied. We know we are there but we can’t let up. Points are too short and everyone is fighting so we have to stop giving the opposition the advantage,” he explains. “We train the best we can. The training is more concentrated, especially after the last game, and that strengthens us.

“This Saturday, we are dedicated to winning.”

 


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