May 19, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC forward David Villa (7) celebrates his goal against the Colorado Rapids with during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira introduced a three-back system in Saturday’s 4-0 rout of the Colorado Rapids.
“It’s trying to put a system and shape in place to allow you to control the game and have possession of the ball,” Vieira said in his pregame briefing. “I’m looking for the best way to create chances – hopefully, it will work.”
While bossing possession in the opening 45 minutes, Vieira was visibly annoyed despite a 1-0 advantage.
“We have to respect the game, the game plan and have to play together,” Vieira said. “If we think one player will make us win the games – it’s wrong. Our collective game was much better in the second half.”
NYCFC captain David Villa agreed with the coach’s assessment after his two-goal performance, adding that an alternate shape will be useful moving forward.
“It’s very important,” Villa said. “I saw in the Red Bull game and the Portland game two teams who knew perfectly well where we were strong and they defended very well. That’s happening in other games and its important to have other ways to play.”
Alex Ring comfortable in multiple roles
A critical figure in the shape alteration was the normal holding midfielder Alex Ring, who dropped back a notch to anchor the back line between Sebastien Ibeagha and Alexander Callens.
“It doesn’t change that much,” Ring claimed. “As the 6 (holding mid) it’s the same. Often it’s us three who stay to take care of transition, their strikers and their No. 10. It wasn’t that different. I play with these guys in training every day. Football is simple, you make decisions and you try to make the right one.”
NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson confirmed that the adjustment was not severe.
“It wasn’t that big of a change from what we normally do,” Johnson said. “It just gave us a more solid structure to compete against this opponent.”
NYCFC is perfect at home
NYCFC is 5-0 at Yankee Stadium and has outscored its opponents 15-2 on the league’s most unique pitch.
“For us it’s a huge advantage just to know the grass, know the dimensions of the field and the atmosphere and the surroundings,” Johnson said. “I’m used to it now but for teams that come in they may say its difficult to adjust to because everything’s different. It’s not your typical stadium set-up.”
Alex Ring had a different take on the soccer yard in the Bronx.
“For me it’s just an excuse to say Yankee Stadium is this and that,” Ring said. “I don’t accept that. It’s the same for us. We don’t complain when we go on away games and play on turf.”