NYCFC Notes: Vieira critical of refs, Herrera takes on U.S. U20s, and more

NYCFC Notes: Vieira critical of refs, Herrera takes on U.S. U20s, and more

MLS- New York City FC

NYCFC Notes: Vieira critical of refs, Herrera takes on U.S. U20s, and more

New York City FC head coach, Patrick Vieira, has devoted an inordinate amount of time in the ear of the fourth official.

He made regular appearances to the halfway line to debate calls in a 3-1 loss at Atlanta United on Sunday and had frequent objections in the disappointing 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.  Vieira had an animated discussion with the officials after the final whistle in the Bronx. He was adamant that David Villa drew a penalty after a collision with Antonio Delamea in the first half.

“I don’t want to comment – I don’t want to talk about the referees,” said Vieira.

The second-year mentor, who was suspended twice last season for post-match protestations, had much more to say following the loss to the formidable attacking side in Atlanta.

“When you look at the decisions from the referees in the key periods went against us and I think that had an impact on the game,” said Vieira.

The Five Stripes scored three goals in a seven-minute span of the opening half to essentially eliminate City’s hope to earn three road points. Vieira was agitated after it appeared Julian Gressel pulled down Alexander Callens before the decisive third goal.

“I think the game may be going to fast and too quick in this country for the referees and this is a serious problem,” said Vieira. “When you look at the decisions – one day going for you the next day going against you – I know it balances out at the end but it’s a concern.”

While Vieira lauded the atmosphere and support at Bobby Dodd Stadium in downtown Atlanta, he reserved comment for the performance of referee Armando Villarreal.

“When you have as well a referee like we had today its not 11 against 12, its like 15 against 11,” said Vieira. “This part of the game, the same way we try to improve on the tactical, technical, physical and mental – the referee has to also. His decision can have a massive impact on the game.”

Under Development Manager, Alex Prus, The Professional Referees Organization has a model for referee identification, training and development with a performance based advancement system and mandatory attendance at two developmental camps annually.


Vieira had no objections to the retroactive suspension of RJ Allen for the New England match. The MLS Disciplinary Committee suspended the Old Bridge, New Jersey native for one match in addition to an undisclosed fine after Allen committed a nasty take-down from behind on Atlanta’s Greg Garza. Following his return from a grueling 12-month rehab from hip surgery and his early experiences as a youth player in Brazil, a vicious foul is not going to phase the Texas native.

“At 11 or 12 years old I was training at Sao Paulo,” Garza told SBI. “I grew up fast. While I was more worried about my Gameboy those guys were worried about helping to put food on the table for their families. They were looking at every day as a way to get out of poverty – as a way to win in life.”

Garza is now under strong consideration at left back for Bruce Arena and the USMNT.

“That trip to Brazil – I don’t think I would be here today without it,” he said. “I probably learned more off the field than on the field and I carry that with me today.”


Yangel Herrera headed a goal in the 108th minute against Japan to propel Venezuela to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World for the first time. Moreover, a date with Josh Sargent and the USA.

“When I saw the net ripple – I just can’t describe how it felt. It’s a huge dream,” Herrera told “I’m so happy.”

The 19-year old midfielder, who supplanted Andrea Pirlo in the starting XI for NYCFC, was prepared for the moment off a dead ball service.

“We do a lot of work on set-pieces in training and we’ve got a few routines up our sleeve,” said the Venezuelan captain. “I go in there with a lot of belief.”

Herrera, who has been the captain on each of his youth National Teams starting with the U-15’s, is the holding midfielder in a 4-3-3 shape. He will be tasked with denying entrance balls into the 17-year old boy wonder, Sargent, while tangling with the Red Bulls’ Tyler Adams in the center of the park. Sargent opened the scoring in a 6-0 rout of New Zealand Thursday morning and has agreed to a contract with Bundesliga side, Werder Bremen. Sargent has finished four times to tie Taylor Twellman, Eddie Johnson and Jozy Altidore for most goals for a U.S. player at a U-20 World Cup.



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