The last of the regular season Hudson River Derbies took place on Friday night, and the New York Red Bulls and visiting New York City FC finished tied despite the Red Bulls dominating statistics. That wasn’t a problem for NYCFC.
“We wanted to get the three points,” NYCFC midfielder Rodney Wallace said. “It didn’t go our way, but we remain positive and confident.”
“When you look at the 90 minutes, I think we did really quite well,” Patrick Vieira added, even though his team ended with less than 40% possession on the night, and recorded only nine shots to the Red Bulls’ 21.
Vieira, instead, looked at the situation as his side making improvements. As he explained it, there are two parts of the game:when you are in possession and when you are out of possession. He continued, while his team did well in possession, “the part of the game that we needed to improve was without the ball.”
Vieira pointed not just to the draw against the Red Bulls, but also to NYCFC’s last three matches, wins against the New England Revolution and the LA Galaxy, as examples of his team focusing on their game when out of possession.
“We are more solid as a team,” Vieira said, “and when we’re more solid, it’s a good sign, and then what is important for us is try to manage both aspects of the game so we can be even stronger as a team.”
NYCFC has built a reputation for attack-minded soccer, and featuring one of the most dangerous offenses in MLS, but Friday’s performance showed a team capable of taking a more defensive-minded approach and finding success with it.
“We chose a different tactic this time and I think we did quite well,” NYCFC midfielder Alexander Ring said. “I think we’ll see many games where we’ll be having the ball again as we’re used to … but the last couple of games, we’ve been defending very well as a team, and as everyone knows, good defense wins the championships.”
As happy as NYCFC was with taking a road point from Red Bull Arena, Vieira and his team know their performance could have been better.
“What I think we didn’t do well today is that when we are defending and we manage to win the ball, we lost it straight away,” Vieira said “and then we start to get frustrated.”
“It’s a sign of a big team,” Ring said, “when you don’t play your best football, you still get results, so I think we shouldn’t complain.
“I’m sure that we’re going to get back on track very soon.”