It was an eventful, and unexpected, first 72 hours in New York City for Maxime Chanot.
The defender arrived from Luxembourg last Thursday, joined New York City FC for his first training session on Friday and made his Major League Soccer debut in a 5-1 win over the Colorado Rapids Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
That’s not exactly how NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira planned it.
“I wanted him to be around the team, be around the squad to see how we work, for him to get used to what we are doing,” Vieira said. “Then it happened that [Jefferson] Mena felt his hamstring a little bit and we didn’t want to take any risk. But it’s good to have Maxime. Now we have players we can rotate at the back.”
While it wasn’t ideal to include a player off one training session, that NYCFC led 2-0 at the half and the Rapids were reduced to 10 men after Michael Azira was sent off for his second bookable offense in the 37th minute.
“I spoke already with a few players and the coach who told me how to play. I also watched games so I knew how they play,” Chanot said. “It was easier for me because we led 2-0 and we’ve got the ball, I just played the way I know to play. Football is the same if you play in Europe or in the United States. I tried to play easy and calm and did my job.”
Chanot said he’s watched 10-12 MLS games since Frederic Brillant, a former teammate at Beerschot, as well as Belgium players Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact) and Jelle Val Damme (LA Galaxy) joined the league.
“They only told me good things about MLS,” Chanot said. “They told me it’s a good league and improved a lot since they came the first time. I’m not surprised about the level of the league. I’m happy to be here, happy to choose this league and to choose this club. I’m sure I made a good choice.”
Chanot said a big reason he decided to sign with NYCFC was a chance to play for Patrick Vieira.
“It was the first reason to come here, to work with someone who used to be a big player,” Chanot said. “To have a coach like that was a dream for me. I’m sure I can improve with him.”
Chanot also likes Vieira’s style of playing out of the back in his 4-3-3 formation and believes it suits him well.
“I think this is the new football,” Chanot said. “I like it. You need to have players to play this kind of football. We’ve got these kinds of players. I like it and you can see in the league table that it’s working.”