Entering the 2018 Major League Soccer season, New York City FC had been lauded for its performances away from Yankee Stadium under head coach Patrick Vieira.
In Vieira’s first two seasons with NYCFC, the club posted results in 10 of the 17 road contests in both regular-season campaigns. Impressive wins at Sporting KC and San Jose in the early portion of 2018 served to reinforce that reputation, and now NYCFC has the best road record in the league since 2016 (15-16-9).
But that status wavered following losses to Portland at Providence Park (3-0) and at Red Bull Arena (4-0) last week.
New York City (6-2-2, 20 points) will attempt to regain its road warrior form when visiting surging Los Angeles Football Club (6-2-1, 19 points) Sunday for an 8:30pm ET kickoff. LAFC is 2-0-1 at its new home, Banc of California Stadium.
Through the first eight weeks of the season, New York City was atop the league standings and celebrating a 2-2 road result at Atlanta United. Alex Ring scored his first career goal for the club from a distance to earn a valuable point in the difficult environment at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Does the Finland international think the most recent thrashing by the Red Bulls shredded the confidence of his group away from the Bronx?
“No,” Ring said. “The way we want to play you have to have energy, hard work and confidence. The club has chosen these players to be able to play the system and I’m not worried about that at all. It was a one-time thing.”
Vieira said after the Red Bulls encounter he would have changed all 10 field players at the interval if allowed. Instead, he supplanted a pair of players after the first 45 minutes, including right back Anton Tinnerholm.
“Everybody knows that game was rubbish,” Tinnerholm said after training on Wednesday. “We had a lot of meetings this week.”
In addition to meetings, Tinnerholm sensed a more passionate training environment.
“Today we had a lot of duels,” Tinnerholm said. “Tough training with a lot of intensity. That’s what we needed.”
Said Ring: “We have a positive vibe and everyone is buzzing to get a chance against LA.”