Frederic Brillant wasn’t part of Patrick Vieira’s original starting XI Sunday night.
But that changed during pre-game warm-ups when defender Ethan White suffered a hamstring injury.
Vieira had to alter his plans, calling on Brillant and the 30-year-old French defender answered with aplomb, helping anchor NYCFC’s backline in a 0-0 draw with the Chicago Fire, the club’s first clean sheet of the season.
Brilliant was successful on eight of nine clearances against Chicago.
“Fred came on and I think he did really well,” Vieira said. “He was fantastic tonight.”
Brillant, who hasn’t played since back-to-back starts against the Fire and Toronto FC to start the season, partnered with Jason Hernandez won a stout four-man backline that didn’t concede one shot on target.
Here is the defenders touch map:
“It was pretty important I think defensively. We’ve been doing pretty well, hopefully improving each match,” Hernandez said. “To get a clean sheet tonight and not really have too much work for Josh is a good sign for us.”
It was a vast improvement from Week 1 when NYCFC conceded three goals in a wild 4-3 win in Chicago.
“I think it’s always good not to concede a goal,” Vieira said. “It just shows we are getting better and better. As a team we are defending much better.”