Leading into this weekend’s match in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Patrick Vieira coveted a dominant home victory against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
While the New York City FC coach would not concede perfection, he suggested satisfaction in overwhelming the fourth-place team in the Western Conference.
“When you win 4-0 and create the chances and don’t concede very much till the last 15 minutes – it’s a very good team performance,” Vieira said after improving to 5-0-1. “We respected the game and kept it very simple. We have to manage to play like that for the 95 minutes. I know this is difficult but this is our aim.”
A first-year forward who has been nearly flawless in his performance is Libyan Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. He shares the team lead with four goals – on five shots – including the opening score and eventual game-winner Wednesday.
“I can score goals,” Shradi told Pro Soccer USA after bending a left-footer into the upper left corner past RSL’s Nick Rimando. “In Austria I had so many years there but was never the top scorer. I gave the assists to players. The team here has made it very easy for me from the first day.”
Apr 11, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC forward David Villa (7) and Real Salt Lake defender Adam Henley (3) fight for the ball during the second half at Yankee Stadium. New York City FC defeated Real Salt Lake 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The 23-year old Shradi had a career-high 10 goals across all competitions at Austria Wien in Vienna last season.
“There’s not doubt that boy can score goals,” Vieira said. “He’s got the calmness that you need in front of the goal and he’s got the really good left foot to put the ball where he wants it.”
Shradi’s propensity to finish his chances will make it difficult for Vieira to consider a starting XI without the 5-6 winger.
“It would be really hard, but the same way that it would be hard to take off Jesus (Medina), or Jo Inge (Berget) or put David (Villa) on the bench,” Vieira said. “What is important is for the players to respect my decision and for me to be fair to all of them.”
Villa and holding midfielder Alex Ring participated in full team training on Friday after securing essential second-half minutes against RSL. Villa missed three consecutive matches due to injury, while Ring sat out a pair.
“The health was more important than their performance,” Vieira said. “They came out of the game with no issues and both will contend for the starting XI.”
Vieira is contemplating his squad for Sunday when he matches tactics with Tata Martino and the Five Stripes – a highly anticipated MLS contest in raucous confines between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.