Minutes after the final whistle blew, signaling the end of New York City FC's third season in MLS, Patrick Vieira sat down for one last press conference. City came up just one goal short of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals, but Vieira knows his players left it all on the field.
"I think, when you look at the game," said the Gaffer, "it was difficult for me to ask more about the team and about my players, because they gave everything they had tonight. I'm really proud about they way that they played, and they fought, tonight."
The knowledge that his players gave their all is perhaps not quite enough to fully numb the pain, but it helps. Vieira put his players in a position to get the job done, and despite a significant deficit and unavailable key players, they almost pulled it off.
"Of course, I am upset that we are not going to the Eastern Conference Finals," he said." I think there was a space there to score the third goal. I'm upset, frustrated, disappointed."
"We give ourselves the best chance to make it happen, and we knew how difficult and big the challenge was. Today, we played really well, we created chances.
"We had situations where we didn't make the best decisions, but we scored these two goals and I thought the third one would come."
It's true that this season is over for NYCFC and Vieira on the field, but the club is far from finished growing. Vieira has overseen two very successful campaigns in a row for this young Club after taking the reins in 2016.
In short, the massive improvements for City from year to year are just beginning, and Patrick knows that 2018 is going to be huge.
He says: "I think, as a club, we are more solid on and off the field than we were last year. We improved a lot as a football club, and I strongly believe that next year is going to be even better. I believe that we are working well, we are improving on the field. We managed to bring the right players to help us improve. This year, we had 12 new players.
"Next year we're going to have, of course, less, but the next few players we need to bring need to take us to the next level again so we can compete against the likes of Toronto and the Red Bulls, because I believe that the East will be stronger and stronger."
It takes time to figure out a winning formula in the playoffs, and for Vieira, the third time might just be the charm.
"We are closer then we were last year," Vieira explained. "I think last year, we were naive. I think tonight, we had a really good discipline on the field, and that gave us a chance to get really close.
"It's a really good experience for myself, and as a team, as a football club, we will really improve and get stronger next year."