"I think it's another tough game, there's no doubt about it," said NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira at training ahead of this weekend's match against the Houston Dynamo.
"They're fighting for a spot in the playoffs, the same for us as well," added the gaffer. "We're getting to the last five games of the season, so if we win, the points will be important."
It's a high-stakes match for both squads, of course. Houston sit seventh in the Western Conference standings, level on points with sixth-placed Real Salt Lake, but just outside the picture. For NYCFC, keeping Houston out of the playoffs means keeping their hold on a second-placed finish in the East.
Part of the reason Houston is on the outside looking in has been their record away from home. They've won just once and lost nine times on the road, but Vieira knows that results can be deceiving.
"When you look at the games they've played, they've been really unlucky," notes Vieira.
"They create a lot of chances, they've played some really good football, so I don't really look at the statistic of how many games they've won away from home. This is a really strong squad.
"They've got talent, they've got pace, they've got power, and it's going to be a tough game and really difficult for us."
Results can be deceiving for NYCFC, too, and nobody knows this better than Vieira. He knows his squad can create chances with the best of them, but the question remains as to whether or not they can finish them off consistently.
"What we need to do is just take our chances," said Vieira ahead of this match. "The last game we played, I was really happy with the intensity, with the way that we played in possession and out of possession.
"The key for us is to score the chances we're creating."
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Coming off of an away match where his squad couldn't quite get over the line and snatch the full three points, Vieira stressed the importance of a strong showing from NYCFC's supporters as they take on Houston in a new environment.
"We need the support from our fans," Vieira noted. "It will be important for them to come and work hard behind the team because we will need them.
"It's going to be a tough game and we need the fans to push the players so we can give our best."