Ask any coach in the world and they’ll all tell you the same thing: time on the training field is precious but, for players, it’s all about the gamedays.
For that reason, Patrick Vieira organized an in-house game at the team’s training ground in the last week to sharpen up ahead of San Jose’s visit on Saturday.
This break will have been welcome for the Head Coach and his new-look squad as the Frenchman looks to build chemistry and familiarity with his methods at this early stage of the campaign.
Vieira told NYCFC.com: “You always want to play games because training is good but players are competitive and you always want to play matches. We managed to play an in-house game and work on some of the areas of the game we needed to improve.
“It’s been a really good week and we are ready for the game on Saturday.
“It was really good to see all the boys coming back from international duty and the good news is that they all came back fit and we don’t have any physical issues.”
Three games in and NYCFC possess a 1-1-1 record which could easily be 3-0-0 based on the performances Patrick’s team have produced.
All that’s been missing is the ruthlessness in front of goal but the boss is satisfied with what he’s seen so far.
“The biggest takeaway so far is the way we played – we stuck to our philosophy and the passing was really good,” he reflected.
“We stuck with the way we’ve been working from the very first day of preseason and we’ve been creating a lot of chances, not conceding very much.
“The balance was good between defending our goal and creating chances, so we have to keep doing it, working well and working hard.”
Vieira believes that San Jose can cause problems for his men, citing Chris Wondolowski as a potential dangerman.
The USMNT striker scored against NYCFC in 2015 and, along with the Earthquakes midfield, he’s highly-rated by Patrick.
“It’s going to be a really tough game, it will be very difficult for us,” Vieira said.
“We’re going to play against a good team but I believe we’re in a really good period and we’re playing really good football, creating a lot of chances.
“It should be a really good game of football because they’re a team who like to play from the back and a team who are technically really good with some individual talents.
“They have some individual talents, especially in the midfield and one of the top scorers in the league over the last few years up front. As a team, they’re strong.”