NYCFC playing down reunion with Kreis

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

New York City FC’s first two head coaches will share the field Sunday evening in Orlando. Jason Kreis will face the team that fired him at the end of last season while Patrick Vieira returns from suspension to guide his club on the road.

But for all the focus put onto this match, NYCFC’s players share no ill will towards their former boss.

“He’s the guy that brought me in so I have a lot of respect for him,” RJ Allen said. “He’s done well as an MLS coach throughout his career. I thank him for the opportunity but I’m with a new manager now. I’m enjoying my time with Patrick and I’m looking toward to a bright future with him.”

With Patrick Vieira, NYCFC have surpassed their points total under Kreis. Forecasting websites state they are certain to make the playoffs this season. NYCFC said they fired Kreis for failing to do so last season. Kreis maintains in interviews that the organization was ‘irrational’ to dismiss him.

“I think that the most honest way to say it is that I feel that we were given a job to do and we were allowed to do half of it,” Kreis said to the Over the Ball podcast. “I thought that we had made ourselves extremely clear that to work with an expansion team, to be starting a team from absolutely nothing, there was no team there before, there was no youth academy, there was no second team, there was no training facility, there was no stadium, there was literally nothing.”

NYCFC already have won more games in 2016 than in 2015 while retaining most of last season’s core players. Allen, Jason Hernandez, Josh Saunders, Andoni Iraola and the Designated Players David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard are regulars for Vieira whom regularly featured for Kreis. So too was Thomas McNamara who scored five goals in 19 appearances in 2015.

McNamara said he congratulated Kreis when Orlando City hired him in July.

“I was happy for the staff, happy that they were able to land on their feet,” McNamara said. “It will be good to see them again this weekend.”

Allen said he wasn’t surprised to see Kreis find another job within MLS as quickly as he did. Orlando City are 1—1—2 since Kreis took over and are level on points with D.C. United for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. If Orlando loses tonight, NYCFC can pull to within as many as eight points won by them or lost by Orlando from clinching a playoff berth.

“We didn’t accomplish the goals that we wanted to last year but I enjoyed the work environment that we were in under that staff and I’m going to leave it at that,” McNamara said.