By CHRISTIAN ARAOS
Patrick Vieira doubled down on his revised tactical system and vowed to stick with it for the near future. Vieira meant to field New York City FC in a 3-4-3 but it wound up becoming a lopsided 4-3-3 that struggled to breakthrough a compact D.C. United squad in Saturday’s 2-1 loss. Speaking to the club’s broadcasters on Tuesday, Vieira said part of the problem was that Ronald Matarrita and Jack Harrison played too deep.
“I think the system was good,” Vieira said. “It was just that one or two things could be better. When we are in possession, I think Jack and Mata could be a little bit higher up the field and that is something we’re going to improve. The next game we play in that system, we’re going to have them a little bit higher.”
Vieira also reiterated that the field at R.F.K. Stadium “was a disaster” that had a part to play in Lloyd Sam’s goal but he did also note that Frederic Brillant made a mistake on the goal as well. Vieira said that he started Brillant because he fit the three-man system but he thought the backline was not wide enough to allow Matarrita and Harrison to play farther up field.
“We need Fred and Alex Callens to be a bit wider,” Vieira said. “It’s not just one or two players but the team and when you change one or two players then the shape will change a little bit. I love the system and we’re going to use it again this season, no doubt about it.”
Patrick Vieira admitted that the team could be exposed on the counter when Andrea Pirlo is on the field.
“Andrea is a real professional,” Vieira said. “The change was just because I wanted something different and we needed to change the game and we could have been exposed on the counter attack. That was the only thing but when you look at the game he played. The way that we build up our game, the way that he widens our game. I’m really happy with the way he’s playing.”
Pirlo is one-dimensional in a system that requires midfielders to be capable of performing multiple duties. Alexander Ring can join the attack, cover for Pirlo or win the ball back in possession. Maxi Moralez demonstrated his ability to track back and create chances in one 20-second instance Saturday that led to a chance for Rodney Wallace.
There is always a need for someone to put his foot on the ball and control the game. The problem Vieira has been facing in each of the past two games hasn’t been controlling the game but winning it. City were able to get farther forward after Pirlo was substituted in both games because of the players that replaced Pirlo. Thomas McNamara scored the game winner against the San Jose Earthquakes and although Miguel Camargo was not as successful, he still played centrally in a more advanced position.
“Miguel is someone who is getting into the rhythm of the games at training,” Vieira said. “He is feeling much better than he arrived. In the 10-15 minutes that he played, he showed that he’s got something special. He needs to play and he’s going to play because we have a lot of games in a short period of time coming up.”
Patrick Vieira mentioned John Stertzer, Kwame Awuah and Ben Sweat as players who continue to train well but have yet to have an opportunity to play. If only there was an arrangement in which an MLS club could own and/or operate a team in a lower division so their younger players could gain match experience while staying within their club.
“Having a New York City II would be perfect,” Vieira said. “It would be the perfect option for us because we would play the same way, have the same philosophy and be at home. That would be the perfect scenario but we don’t have it yet so we just have to find a way to create games at training. We have to be creative to give those players some games because I understand it’s difficult for them. They’re doing really well in training and they want to play so I will have to manage them because there will be frustration from them and I have to accept that.”
Vieira said he will share his thoughts with Sporting Director Claudio Reyna and the rest of the front office. At the same time, this involves getting opportunities for playing time for some of those young players down on the depth chart. Part of the problem, Vieira said, is that it does not appear that San Antonio FC is interested in adding any players from NYCFC at the moment.
“We are working together but they will have to need players in the position that we need to send players to them so it will be difficult,” he said
To much hype, the NYCFC’s U16 squad has reached the semifinals of the Generation Adidas Cup in the Premier Division. Thriston Briscoe scored the only goal in The Pigeons’ win against Pumas yesterday to put them into the semifinals with two regulation wins and a penalty kick win while having not conceded. Giovanni Reyna curled a beautiful free kick from a tight angle and Veltko Petkovic executed a fine chip in their 2-0 win against Saprissa.
City will play the San Jose Earthquakes at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday. The winner will advance to the final against either the Philadelphia Union or Tigres. MLSsoccer.com will carry a live stream on its site.
To touch back on last week’s article on Yangel Herrera, EoS contacted the English F.A. for clarification about MLS’ status when it comes to work permit rules. A spokesmen said that MLS was not considered to be a “top league” according to the F.A.’s definition.
It means that Herrera’s work permit status requires him to get the 918 minutes needed to receive a point under the F.A.’s work permit appeal process, falling under a secondary criteria. Herrera needs five points under the B criteria to have a chance for his work permit to be accepted the next time it’s considered. There’s reason to doubt that will happen, which will leave City Football Club to weight its options.