NYCFC Notes: Vieira not overlooking Crew, Matarrita, Mena near full health


New York City FC will travel to Ohio to face last-place Columbus Crew SC but head coach Patrick Vieira warned that Crew SC are a better team than their record suggests.

“They’ve been really unlucky with injuries and some of the scenarios in games,” Vieira said. “I really enjoy watching them play. I really like the way they play football, I really like how the manager wants the team to play. They have a clear philosophy, a clear way to play and it will be a really interesting game because both teams like to control the game.”

While Vieira may look past the Crew’s current standings, their issues have been plentiful this year. Currently, Columbus enter Saturday night’s match on a nine-game winless streak with only one win out of their last twelve matches.

Matarrita nearing recovery

Ronald Matarrita is likely to return to the NYCFC lineup for Saturday’s match after missing the past month due to an ankle injury. Matarrita is training with the squad but Vieira said he will hold off until later in the week before deciding on his status for Saturday.

“I was talking to him this week and he’s feeling good,” Vieira said. “If he’s fit to travel, he will be someone I take into consideration.”

Mena to return to training, Chanot working on fitness

Jefferson Mena will resume training with the squad after missing last week’s match to a hamstring injury. Vieira said he is expecting Mena to be recovered in time for this weekend but will hold off on making his selections. Maxime Chanot trained on his own for portions of Tuesday’s session but Vieira said that is part of a regiment to get him match fit.

Once Mena returns, it would give the team a clean bill of health, save for long-term injuries to Shannon Gomez and Connor Brandt, with ten matches left in the season.

Vieira to tour Europe postseason

Once NYCFC’s season ends, Vieira will cross the pond and do his own European tour. Vieira said he will connect with Manchester City and the new coaching staff under Pep Guardiola as well as connect with colleagues and former teammates throughout the continent.

“If there’s something for me to take, it will be fantastic,” Vieira said. “I’m planning on going around to spend some time with some coaches that I had, some ex-players who became coaches and try to learn from them.”

Vieira said he will visit German, French and Italian clubs in addition to his trip to Manchester.

“But at the moment, my only focus and concentration is about us trying to do well and finish as high as we can.”

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