New York City FC

NYCFC slowly turning the corner under Patrick Vieira

New York City FC are currently enjoying their best form under new head coach Patrick Vieira and perhaps the best form of the expansion club’s entire existence. After defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers and D.C. United, Vieira’s boys in blue have catapulted themselves to first place in the beleaguered eastern conference.

The rookie head coach seems to have plugged a few of the holes in New York City’s infamously porous defense, with the team now operating with far more solidity in midfield. Vieira’s decision to deploy Andrea Pirlo on the left hand side of his midfield seems to have been a pivotal schematic shift.

New York City has improved dramatically at converting possession into scoring opportunities. While the clinical finishing of David Villa was enough to keep NYCFC afloat, the team is now finding goals and contributions from various players. Tommy McNamara, Khiry Shelton and Ronald Matarrita have joined captain David Villa as bright spots this season. But even with this rich vein of form and improving squad, it would be premature to say New York City have finally arrived.

Over the next three fixtures NYCFC will be tested by key eastern conference rivals. Tonight New York City will play a tough road game against fourth place Toronto. Then they welcome the Red Bulls to Yankee Stadium for another Hudson River derby. On the 29th, the Sky Blues of New York will take on fellow expansion squad Orlando City. Depending how New York City fare in these next three matches, we will be able to say whether or not Vieira’s leadership and tactics have helped pushed the squad to a new level.

Since joining MLS, New York City has never lost to Toronto FC and the two team have fostered somewhat of rivalry in those four games. It would be a very positive sign to see that streak continue on the road tomorrow night. Proving that New York City have a mental edge on their northern adversaries.

Saturday symbolizes a huge chance for New York City to take a big step in their development. In stark contrast with NYCFC’s record against Toronto, they have never once been able to claim a point against their big apple rivals. The Red Bulls have absolutely dominated the Hudson River derby, but this is easily NYCFC’s best chance to claim their first victory and some bragging points in Gotham City. Last season New York City and Orlando City entered the league as the newest expansion teams, and while nether team was able to reach the playoffs, both teams can improve their fate in the current campaign.

At the moment, NYC are navigating through an extremely pivotal segment of their development. There is a chance for the New York based club to assert their dominance over the eastern conference while taking aim at some of their closest rivals. If New York City want to truly measure their success, good results against Orlando, Toronto and Red Bulls will be very important.