Can NYCFC produce a repeat performance of their 2-0 derby day win on Thursday?
That’s the question on Patrick Vieira’s mind as he readies his squad for a midweek meeting with Minnesota United.
It’s the first-ever clash between the boys in blue and The Loons and Vieira wants to see the same determination and passion he saw at Red Bull Arena this past Saturday.
Vieira told NYCFC.com: “The challenge is to see if we can play two games with the same intensity in a row.
“If we don’t have the same concentration and focus that we had against Red Bulls, we will not have any chance of winning against Minnesota.
“We will need to play well and we will need to work really hard if we want to win games. When you look at all the teams in the league, they have good players and really good structure. The determination and the hard work has to be the minimum that the players can give.”
Ben Sweat was the hero for NYCFC in that derby day win over Red Bulls, racking up an assist and a goal.
This delighted Vieira who holds up Ben as an example to all his teammates on how to go about your work in the weeks leading up to matches and it also demonstrates NYCFC’s strength in depth.
“Ben is a really good example of someone who puts his head down, keeps working hard and now he’s playing really well,” Patrick reflected.
“That’s good for the team and for helping us achieve our goals. That’s what I want as a coach – that no one is guaranteed to play.
“We have players on the bench who are challenging the ones who start – I’m really pleased that the players are working hard and waiting for their opportunities and then they take it.”
Minnesota have recovered from a difficult start to their first MLS season and lie in ninth place in the Western Conference.
Thanks in no small part to the nine goals of Christian Ramirez, Adrian Heath’s men have steadied the ship and are adapting to life in the top tier of American soccer.
Vieira added: “We’re going to face a really good side, when you look at the players individually they are really good and we will have to be at our best if we want to win the game.”