New York City FC’s second MLS Playoffs campaign starts tonight in Ohio.
Columbus Crew SC provide the opposition for City’s Eastern Conference semifinal first leg at the MAPFRE Stadium.
Following the 2-2 Decision Day tie at Citi Field, Head Coach Patrick Vieira revealed his respect for Columbus and warned that his team will be in for a tough game.
Vieira told NYCFC.com: “We had a week to prepare the game really well. We know what to expect and it’s going to be another tough game against Columbus.
“We played them away at the beginning of this season and it was really tough – we played them at home and it was tough.
“We’re playing against a really good team.”
Vieira is a big fan of the way Gregg Berhalter’s team go about their business, building from the back and playing on the front foot.
For these reasons, the Frenchman is predicting an entertaining tie but, at the same time, wants his charges to keep things tight at the other end.
“We know them well as a team and we know that they like to play from the back, they like to rotate in the midfield and they’re a creative team,” Vieira said.
“They have a really good philosophy on how they want to play the game. It’s going to be tough for us, we’ll have to be compact and to defend well and try to use the space that they will leave at the back.
“It will be really important to defend well considering we’re going to have a second leg at home. We have to go there and be compact and not leave space between the lines or behind our back four. If we defend well, we’ll create some chances.”
The #SaveTheCrew campaign is sure to get plenty of coverage in the hours to come and it could be another factor in the game as the home fans are expected to show up in numbers.
For Patrick, it’s just another reason why his team need to be at their best.
Vieira added: “The issues they have off the field will bring them togetherness.
“You could see it against Atlanta that they’re a united team and they’re working for each other. They have really good momentum so we need to be at our best if we want to do well and take something from the game.”