New York City FC ended their brief stay in Mexico with a 3-0 defeat to Atletico San Luis on Tuesday night.
Managing Editor Mark Booth picks out five things we learned from a tough evening's play at the Estadio Alfonso Lastras...
RELATED: Match Recap - San Luis 3-0 NYCFC
While it wasn't the performance or the result we hoped for, it's often unwise to get too up or down on preseason matches.
Rarely do trends from these encounters extend into Regular Season play, especially when there is significant turnover on a team's roster between campaigns.
As with most things in life worth having, patience and time are required when assembling a team to compete as players seek to build chemistry and combinations, learning one another's games and taking a new coach's instructions from the training field onto the pitch.
This was a bruising night for City as they were undone three times at the back but it's also worth remembering that this was an Atletico San Luis side seven games into their season vs. an NYCFC team still getting their preseason minutes and building fitness after the long MLS offseason.
Haak Impresses Again
This was a night that 16-year old Brooklynite Justin Haak won't be forgetting in a hurry.
Although the rapturous applause he received upon entering the game and that greeted his every touch was more to do with a perceived likeness to a certain Uruguayan striker, there is a seriously impressive note to consider based upon his performance.
That is, the teen appeared completely unfazed by this attention he could hardly have prepared for, keeping his cool and recycling possession to try and give NYC a foothold in the game.
On one occasion towards the end, Haak strode through the middle third and tricked his way past an opponent, much to the delight of the home fans who gave him a standing ovation at at full-time.
To channel out the cacophonous noise and to play his usual game spoke volumes for the Academy and brought to mind the performance his former U-16s teammate James Sands produced in Ecuador vs. Emelec a year ago.
There's no resting on laurels for Haak now though as he flies out to meet up with his U-19 teammates in Atlanta on Wednesday as NYCFC continue their Generation adidas Cup campaign.
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This wasn't one-way traffic as the scoreline suggests, NYCFC certainly had their chances to make the deficit more favorable.
Yangel Herrera went close with a bicycle kick and had another good effort in the first half which forced a save, while Anton Tinnerholm brought the best out of the 'keeper with a power effort after the interval.
That said, you couldn't help but be impressed by how clinical the hosts were on the night, punishing City for failing to clear their lines with their goals, as well as hitting the woodwork and drawing a phenomenal save out of Sean Johnson.
Vieira had said in the buildup to this one that it would be a tough game against opposition unlike what we find in MLS and that's how it proved, resulting in an intriguing clash of styles which will leave the squad with plenty to work on in the next stage of preseason in Florida when they meet more familiar opposition in the shape of RSL and Montreal.
Another 45' in the Tank
David Villa is a little behind some of his teammates in terms of his preparations for 2018 after going down with a mild injury in Jacksonville.
However, he managed to add 45' on Tuesday night to the 20' he got through in LA, meaning he's well and truly on track for Sporting KC on March 4.
El Guaje has, unsurprisingly, been the main attraction for the soccer-loving locals in Potosi and he showed flashes of brilliance in this encounter, suggesting he's approaching top form after his knock.
City return to New York on Wednesday morning where they'll briefly rest up before heading back to Florida for the final stage of preseason at the weekend.
The two remaining preseason games will surely tell us more about where NYCFC are at ahead of their fourth season of MLS play, as Vieira homes in on the XI which will begin the campaign at Children's Mercy Park in 17 days' time.
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