Head Coach Patrick Vieira expects a stern preseason test when NYCFC take to the field against Emelec on Wednesday night.
The Frenchman considers the Ecuadorian giants as one of their continent’s best teams and admits his side will find it tough at the George Capwell Stadium.
The match, which will officially open the newly redeveloped arena, excites Vieira and he’s looking forward to the challenge.
He told journalists at his prematch press conference: “What we know is that we’re playing against one of the best teams in South America.
“They’ve shown they’re one of the best clubs in the last year here in Ecuador – physically we will not be at the same level but it will be good to see where we’re at. I’m really excited for a really good game tomorrow.
“The team will have the last training session today – we’ve been working really hard for the last 10–15 days and there are players very tired and stiff but we’ll be on the field and then we’ll want to win the game.
“There are no players who don’t want to win – we will give our best, I guarantee that. We will face a really strong team and for us as a club it’s good to win games against other big clubs.”
On the stadium itself, Patrick was extremely positive, saying it reminded him of his old Arsenal days.
He said: “It is very impressive – what I really like about this stadium is that it’s really close to the field which reminded me of my time in the Premier League.”
It’s a time of the preseason where there are a number of trialists still competing for contracts but the Head Coach will not make his decision on those deals purely based on what happens on Wednesday.
He said: “I think tomorrow will be a test because the players have been working really hard and really well.
“I will not make a decision just based on this game. We’ll evaluate all the time they spend with us – maybe some will not play well as they’ve been working really hard and they might be tired, so I won’t take a decision purely based on this game.
“It will be based on everything we’ve seen in this preseason.”
One of the key selection dilemmas going into 2017 centers on the goalkeeper position but Patrick said he likes having two talented no.1s.
He added: “Regarding the goalkeepers, it’s always good to have two good goalkeepers who have competition between them. Sean has been playing in MLS for many years and has more experience than Eirik but Eirik has shown a lot of talent.
“They’ve both been working very hard and they’re both fighting very hard which I like as it will make them both better and I will make a decision only for the first game.”