NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira has a lot to be happy about after Saturday night's victory over the LA Galaxy. His men put in a thorough performance on the road less than a week after a Hudson River Derby triumph, notching a clean sheet and scoring two wonderful goals at StubHub Center.
But as spectacular as those goals from Jonathan Lewis and David Villa were, the performance of goalkeeper Sean Johnson was truly special. Johnson kept out powerful strikes from distance, pawed away point-blank chances, and organized his defenders in the face of LA Galaxy pressure time and time again. His heroics did not go unnoticed by Vieira.
"He's been fantastic for us since he arrived to our football club," said Vieira. "Not just because of what he's doing on the field, it's about who he is as a person. He's a really strong character, he's a really strong personality, and this is what we wanted in our football club.
"He's been a fantastic signing for us. We love him.
"When he played the way he played tonight, we could play another hour and look like we are not going to concede a goal."
That is high praise from Vieira, indeed, but not the least bit undeserved given Johnson's performance on the night. However, the Head Coach assured reporters that he wouldn't let his side get ahead of themselves following the victory. There are plenty of games left in the season, and according to Vieira, plenty of work to be done.
"We are not the favorite of the group, that is for sure," said the gaffer.
"But we are there, we are competing with the five, six, seven teams to try to win it. It's still really early, but we are not the favorite, and we are far away from being the favorite.
"I think [the win] showed that we have a team that can compete in this league. Since the beginning of the season, we lack a bit of consistency in our performance.
"Today was a really solid team, after the Red Bulls game. This is how we're going to build a successful football team and a successful football club. We showed today that we can compete to do well in this league, but we're still behind a few teams this year."
Consistency may yet be a hurdle to overcome for this NYCFC side looking to accomplish lofty goals this season, but with two wins in a row—one on each coast—under their belt, Vieira's side will return to Yankee Stadium on August 20th aiming to make a statement when they face New England.