NEW YORK CITY, NY – Patrick Vieira is a man of strict habits when it comes to tactics. Since he first arrived with NYCFC, his club has run a 4-3-3 probably 99% of the time. The City boss has encountered successful 3-5-2 formations a few times (TFC in the 2016 playoffs, and RBNY this season), and used this opportunity to counter Anthony Hudson‘s with his own.
It’s hard to argue with the result.
It may have come as a surprise to some to see Vieira depart from his engraved-in-concrete 4-3-3. The match against Colorado offered a prime testing space for experimentation. Meaning no disrespect, but this is a match NYCFC is supposed to win. As such, with a 3-5-2 formation of their own, Colorado presented a great opportunity for Vieira to experiment with his tactics. Should the experiment fail, he’d likely still be able to recover.
With that, there were some…casualties. Anton Tinnerholm, Jesus Medina, and Maxime Chanot were among the odd-men out thanks to Vieira’s tinkering.
On David Villa Day in NYC, the man himself book-ended his side’s scoring. Opening the scoring with a 22nd minute strike – the result of poor distribution from Tim Howard directly to Yangel Herrera – Villa appears to finally be hitting his stride after beginning the season with inconsistent playing time due to injury.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Jo Inge Berget were threatening as ever and both had their share of excellent chances. Alexander Callens also made a show of it, as his runs up the gut went completely unchallenged and looked impressive if lacking finish.
Callens’ partners in the back also played well in their “new” roles. Alex Ring and Sebastian Ibeagha played mistake-free, shut-down defense when they were called upon. We also can’t forget the shift put in by Maxi Moralez, who finished the day with a goal and an assist.
There isn’t a lot to complain about from this match. If anything, the one complaint is we should have “won more” – a sentiment expressed by Vieira in his half-time comments.
But in this period of uncertainty – with Villa’s contract coming to an end, and Vieira possibly on his way out as well – this club needs to become more than just one or two men. This is a good team; even a very good team. The one “concern” I will take away from this match is that I wish guys like Berget and Medina would score more consistently. Perhaps that’s asking too much too soon – with both players arriving recently in a new country and a new league.
But if that’s all I have to be concerned about, I’d say NYCFC is in good shape.
NYCFCs next match is this Friday, May 25th at 9pm on UniMAS.