Colorado Rapids defeated NYCFC in our penultimate preseason clash on Wednesday night, but what did we learn?
Here are five topics for discussion following the 1-0 loss…
1. Stay Calm
NYCFC are still seeking a win in Tucson through three games but there’s no cause for panic at this stage.
These preseason matches are all about getting minutes into legs and playing out renditions of moves practiced on the training fields ahead of the big MLS kick-off next week.
A handful of this latest XI will consider themselves in contention for the start at Orlando but there are a number of players regarded as first-choice who will come into the team for Saturday’s game.
As was the case against Red Bulls, this was close to Colorado’s first-choice team we were facing off against and so, with a number of NYCFC players still making their way in the game, it was inevitable there would be moments in the game we would be forced to hang in there.
However, we seemed to get better as the game wore on and there were at least a couple of impressive standout individual performances…
2. French Resistance
Frederic Brillant was one of those who advanced his claims for a starting berth with his performance.
The French defender was rock solid and demonstrated his leadership qualities alongside full-backs Shannon Gomez (20) and Kwame Awuah (21), providing a calming, vocal presence to help keep things tight at the back.
In addition to this, Brillant executed a couple of perfectly-timed tackles and made a vital second half block to stop Colorado from doubling their advantage before he was replaced by James Sands with 20 minutes to go.
3. Camargo Cameo
This was fans’ first chance to see new loan signing Miguel Camargo in action and they would have been encouraged by what they saw.
The Panamanian international came on ten minutes into the second half and showed exactly why Claudio Reyna and Patrick Vieira worked hard to bring him to the club.
Camargo looks like he’ll be a lot of fun to watch in 2017, producing a couple of eye-catching moments on the left-wing, asking serious questions of the Colorado right-back with his explosive pace and tricky feet.
From what we’ve seen in training, Miguel can certainly strike a ball too…
4. Awesome Andrea
Andrea Pirlo seems to have gotten better with every outing in preseason and he put in his best performance so far against Colorado.
We’ve come to expect the Italian maestro to spray the ball around effortlessly, playing it on his instep, often without even looking but he showed another underrated side to his game on Wednesday night.
The 37-year old got his hands dirty, putting in a couple of excellent, well-timed sliding tackles and read the game beautifully to make more than one interception.
He also worked the goalkeeper with a knuckleball free-kick which was as close as NYCFC came to finding the equalizer in the second half.
5. Final Dress Rehearsal
Only 90 minutes of soccer separate NYCFC from their first assignment of the MLS season.
Sporting Kansas City will provide the opposition for the final game of preseason and will give us another stiff examination.
We could see something close to the line-up which will take on Orlando, so it’s definitely going to be worth watching…