After Saturday, NYCFC will have faced the only two teams ahead of them in the Supporters' Shield race. Despite the quick turnaround between matches and the prospect of a challenging matchup ahead, Patrick Vieira knows his men are up to the task.
"Of course, it's going to be another tough game for us on Saturday," acknowledges Vieira, "But it will be difficult for them as well, because we are mentally prepared, we are physically ready, and those games are the types of games you would want to play every weekend."
Present in Vieira's comments is the mentality one needs to have if they'd like to fancy themselves a contender in a league like MLS. Simply put, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, and Vieira knows that. For fans as well, it's hard not to look forward to the prospect of a match that could potentially feature three World Cup winners and a bevy of All-Stars.
Among the names to watch on Chicago's side of the field are the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, MLS goalscoring leader Nemanja Nikolic, and perennial danger man David Accam. Vieira knows there's more to this match than the big names, but it's hard to look past the impact they'll have on the rest of their squad. Like the competitor he is, he's looking forward to the challenge of shutting them down.
The gaffer told NYCFC.com: "This is a team that are built with a lot of experience and a lot of individual quality, and they are in a really good period, so this is a really good challenge ahead for us and we're really looking forward to it."
With the amount of attacking talent present on the Chicago Fire team sheet, it wouldn't be a stretch to say this match could turn into a shootout. If that to pass, NYCFC will surely be looking to avoid conceding the first blow. Chicago comes into this match without a league loss since April and unbeaten in their last five games on the road, and with a pedigree like that to contend with, staying sharp from start to finish will be paramount for NYCFC.
It's certainly less than ideal that the squad has found themselves in early holes in each of their last three matches, but with his team's ability to create chances, Vieira says that's no reason to worry.
"I think when you analyze all the games that we've played so far, the number of chances that we've created is really interesting," noted the Head Coach.
"When you look at the way we've played, it's still really good. What's important for us is to try to improve the small mistakes that we are making, and try to be a little bit more solid as a team when we are defending around our box.
"But overall, I'm happy with the quality level that this team has been showing lately."