New York City FC can clinch a first Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal place tonight and Head Coach Ronny Deila is urging his team to finish the job as early as possible.
NYCFC leads AD San Carlos 5-3 after the first leg in Alajuela last week and Deila wants his side to get off to a good start in the return leg at Red Bull Arena.
Deila told reporters at the pre-match press conference: “I think it’s important to score first. That will be a big thing, because then it will be much harder for them and of course they’ll have to score four.
“We’re preparing the same way. We are leading 5-3 at the first half, and now we have a second half coming up, so we need to be ready from the start of the game, and try to close it as quick as possible. So the preparation will be of course to do the same things that we’ve done before the first game and make ourself ready for a tough fight.”
Deila also believes that San Carlos arrive into the second leg with nothing to lose.
Ronny continued: “They come here with no pressure. Counter-attack the game. And we need to answer them in the same way with intensity and competitiveness. And then we know we have the quality to win the game down there and we know we can do it here as well.”
Héber was the difference-maker in the first leg in Costa Rica and the Brazilian striker was alongside his Head Coach facing the media.
With the first MLS hat-trick in the Concacaf Champions League, Héber is hoping to stay fit in 2020 and continue to score goals for New York City.
“Of course I’m so, so happy because I score a hat-trick, it’s not so easy,” he said, “Also, I hope this season I don’t get a lot of injuries like last season, so I keep fit, and I can help my team in the pitch.
“We have a lot of good things in the first game.”
NYCFC vs. AD San Carlos will be broadcast live on FS2 & TUDN (en español). Kickoff is at 6:00PM ET.