maxi v toronto

Vieira: There's Still a Long Way to Go

NYCFC weren't able to take the full three points at Yankee Stadium against a Toronto side that came into the match tied for the Eastern Conference lead. 

The desire from players on both sides to get back to the action after a long international break was on full display in a fast-paced, end-to-end battle that wasn't decided until the very end. 

NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira was well aware of how this would impact his players physically, and with another match against a top-quality side coming up this weekend, wasn't afraid to be frank about his tactical choices. Vieira dropped his squad deep in the second half, adding a defender in the 85th minute to stymie Toronto's powerful attack. 

"I think sometimes you have to accept that other teams are playing better, and Toronto played better," acknowledged the gaffer. "I think, in the second half when they scored the goal, physically, I think it was quite difficult for us. When I decided to make the changes, it was because I was accepting to leave them with the ball, and it was important for us to be defending well. 

"You have to give them all the credit. I think, if I was in Greg's shoes, I would be disappointed to go back to Toronto with only one point."

That one point puts Toronto into first place in the Eastern Conference, and now it will be up to NYCFC to keep it that way when they face Chicago on Saturday. How will Vieira prepare his side to get the job done? The same way he has all season.

Vieira explained: "We're not going to change our approach, we're not going to change the tactical approach to the game, we just want to take it game after game. I think, after the game tonight, nothing will change for us.

"It will be important for us to recover properly, because we spent a lot of energy in the game tonight. It will be important for us to recover, and important for me to try to find the best eleven to start the game against Chicago. It will be another important game."

An important game, indeed, and the gaffer knows it's not one to look past.

Vieira showcased his pragmatic approach to a hectic stretch of the season yet again when asked about NYCFC's hunt for the top spot in the East. Still in third, Vieira's side faces the top two teams in the league in their next two matches, one of which takes them north to face Toronto once more. With so many matches in such a short amount of time, it's sometimes difficult to remember that we're just past the halfway point of the regular season.

"There's still a really long way to go," noted Vieira. 

"We need to digest this game first before thinking about the next one."

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