NYCFC Notes: Mena and Harrison updates, Vieira, Mix talk tactics, more



Mena beginning individual work, Harrison still sidelined

Defender Jefferson Mena and winger Jack Harrison missed all of NYCFC’s preseason games due to injury and both will be unavailable against the Chicago Fire.

Mena was seen undergoing light training by himself Thursday. Harrison, however, was not with the team.

“Mena is starting to get back on the field and he is getting better,” Vieira said. “Maybe in the beginning of next week, he’ll be a bit more integrated into the team. He’s on his way getting back.”

Vieira was also optimistic about Harrison’s status. Harrison has been sidelined for all of 2016 with a groin injury and NYCFC are taking their time in getting him on the field.

“Jack is feeling much better,” Vieira said. “It’s just a question of time because we don’t want him to rush and then be out again. We may take a bit longer but when the players get back to the field, we want them to stay on the field.”

Villa: I’m comfortable in 4-3-3

Vieira will have NYCFC play in a 4-3-3 which will add two strike partners on the flanks of David Villa. Last season, Villa managed 18 goals on the year. However, he was an island of offense in a 4-5-1 formation.

This year, Villa will be asked to press the opposition’s defenders when they are in possession, along with wingers Tony Taylor and Khiry Shelton.

Villa said the front three’s ability to press is critical to NYCFC’s chances.

“The press is good when we press together and we work,” Villa said. “We worked a lot in preseason to understand these things. Tony and Khiry are very good players and if they understand what Patrick wants then we’ll be good. The feeling right now is that we are ready.”

Villa said Vieira is giving him license to move freely from the center forward position. Along with Taylor and Shelton switching wings, NYCFC will look to play more fluidly in the front. Villa said he is comfortable playing in Vieira’s system.

“Patrick likes the system 4-3-3 and the guys understand what Patrick wants for the team very well,” Villa said. “We are ready for the season this Sunday.”

Mix Diskerud comfortable too

Mix Diskerud said he was lucky to spend the winter in California and Florida — an image counteracted by the toque on his locks in training Thursday morning.

Not only was Diskerud lucky enough to spend the harshest parts of winter down south, but he is now playing centrally after struggling at right wing for much of last season.

“Last year I was playing right wing, now I’m playing in the center of the field and it’s the position where I think I should play,” Diskerud said. “It’s up to me to make sure I deserve that spot and go from there.”

Diskerud has adapted well to playing as a central midfielder under Vieira. He is able to get on the ball in deep positions and move forward to join the attack. While he did not get too specific about what Vieira wants from him, Diskerud said Vieira wants his midfielders to play confidently. Diskerud arrived to NYCFC’s training camp late due to the US National Team’s winter camp but said he could tell right away that the squad was picking up Vieira’s philosophy.

“[Vieira] has an idea in his head and it’s pretty easy for us to understand what he wants,” Diskerud said. “We’re going to play some good soccer. We’re going to try to win as many games as possible but we want to do it in a good style as well.”

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