New head coach Ronny Deila and veteran goalkeeper Sean Johnson will help lead New York City FC into their first Concacaf Champions League with a match at San Carlos in Costa Rica on Thursday.
On Monday, Deila and Johnson spoke to a group of reporters via conference call. Joining Pro Soccer USA’s Glenn Crooks are colleagues Ives Galarcep (Goal.com), Ryan Gerbosi (Newsday), Jake Nisse (NY Post), Dylan Butler (Pro Soccer USA and MLSSoccer.com) and Michael Anderer (Blue City Radio).
Deila has been organizing the team since the start of preseason on Jan. 11 – five days after he was hired. He details challenges to prepare in a short period of time with nagging injuries adding to the difficulty.
Johnson talks about the experienced group returning and in the midst of his responses place a plea for supporters to travel to Red Bull Arena on Feb. 26 for the second leg of Champions League. Five supporters groups made a joint statement last week suggesting a boycott of the game at their arch rivals home.
“They’ve been with us through good moments and bad moments and this is just another challenge that we have,” Johnson said. “We really hope the fans come out and support us. It really makes a big difference.”
Also in this episode, Inter Miami CF beat writer Michele Kaufman of the Miami Herald offers a preview of the expansion side who open their season against LAFC and just signed a Mexican star who scored the club’s first goal in a regular scrimmage.