Last time Rodney Wallace faced Columbus Crew, he ended the night with the MLS Cup in his hands.
That ultimate prize won’t be on the table on Saturday night when NYCFC take to the field at the Mapfre Stadium but the Costa Rican knows that these three points could be vital at season’s end.
Wallace scored the winning goal in that MLS Cup final for Portland Timbers in 2015 but now he’s only looking forward rather than back as he looks to build upon his impressive start to life in the Big Apple.
Rodney told NYCFC.com: “That was the last time I was on the field against Columbus and I scored a goal in the final, so it’s a special place for me to play but now I’m focused on a different situation, trying to win an MLS Cup with a new team here in New York.
“I’m excited to go out there and focus on what we have to do as a team collectively to get the three points.
“I thought it was a difficult game against Orlando but I thought we did a good job and I thought we played well.
“At times we complicated ourselves but overall we had a better performance than they did and there’s some things to take away from the game that we can use and there are some things that we need to correct here on the training ground for Columbus.”
In the absence of his compatriot Ronald Matarrita, Rodney played at left-back in the 2-1 defeat to Orlando last time out.
Although it’s been a while since he played in that role, Wallace gave a good account of himself in that unfamiliar role.
“I haven’t played there in a while so I thought I did the best that I could,” he reflected.
“There were times when I think I could have been a bit better but overall it was a positive performance for me given the fact that I haven’t played there for a while.
“Collectively, as a team, we played a pretty good game. Now we have to move on and focus on Columbus.”
Columbus are one of the early pacesetters in the Eastern Conference with 13 points through eight games.
Wallace believes that they key to an NYCFC victory will be to go back to basics and attack from wide areas.
He added: “I think that every team in the league is full of confidence – they do have a good squad but they also know what we can bring to the table. These are points we need to go and take them ourselves.
“I think that we need to get back to basics and attack them with confidence, using our width and lock down the middle of the field for them, making sure they can’t make the passes that they want. If we do that, if we execute the plan accordingly, I think we’ll be successful.”