New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira chooses words carefully when describing his opposite in the technical area for Saturday’s Hudson River Derby, although he has clear respect for New York Red Bulls manager Jesse Marsch.
The first edition of the 2018 rivalry match takes place at 1:55 p.m. ET Saturday at Red Bull Arena.
“I look at him as, I believe, one of the best coaches in this league, honestly,” Vieira said. “You just have to look how they performed in the Champions League. It’s a team with a clear identity and this is all the credit to the manager.”
Despite his acclaim for Marsch, there have been distinctive signs of animosity over the years. In the third and final derby match of 2016, the Red Bulls secured a 4-1 home triumph. Vieira was tossed from the match and had some words for Marsch on his way to the dressing room.
“I just said to him to stop crying and stop complaining,” Vieira said at the time. “I think his team was playing well, but he was quite frustrated. I feel sorry for him.”
In comments prior to the match, Marsch voiced his concerns the referees favored NYCFC’s three designated players.
“I respect the way David Villa plays. He’s a great player, but every game I watch he gets a piece of every defender before the ball comes. He fouls throughout the entire game. He hardly ever gets called for it,” Marsch said. “If he or [Andrea] Pirlo or [Frank] Lampard get touched, they go down, they draw fouls, they draw yellow cards. It’s an epidemic, an epidemic across the league of these referees who want to give the benefit of the doubt to star players.”
Marsch was subsequently fined by MLS, and Vieira privately seethed at the assertions.
“The comment from Jesse during the week can influence the referee,” Vieira said after the match. “When you are putting a question mark on a referee’s credibility before a big game, it can have an impact. The referee, I believe, got influenced by the comment during the week.”
The acidity has carried into Vieira’s third season coaching in MLS. Prior to the start of 2018, Vieira disputed Marsch’s claim that the role of MLS coaches is to select young American players for the squad in an effort to advance the development of the United States men’s national team.
While attending the MLS combine in January, Vieira had a lengthy chat with MLS neophyte Gio Savarese of the Portland Timbers. He has yet to have that sort of interaction with Marsch.
“Its just like the players – you have more affinity with some players than the other ones in the dressing room,” Vieira said. “When you’re at the combine, I might have more affinity with some of the other coaches than I do with Jesse. It doesn’t mean I don’t like him or or he doesn’t like me.
“Personally, I don’t really know Jesse. I think you can have the rivalry, but overall there’s a respect – at least on my side.”
Here is the full interview with Vieira after Wednesday’s training session in Orangeburg, NY.
Arsenal's Patrick Vieira celebrates scoring their first goal against Tottenham during the FA Cup Semi Final game at Old Trafford, Manchester, Sunday April 8, 2001. Arsenal defeated Tottenham 2-1. (AP Photo/PA, David Davies)