David Villa is the prime player for NYCFC and Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium he did not start for the third straight game. Injuries have prevented Villa from being on the field though he made a brief cameo in the second half. Villa, though, wasn’t needed with his team ahead 3-0 at the time.
And it’s that consistency of putting a talented starting lineup on the field that has made things easier for head coach Patrick Vieira. There is added depth on the bench that also has played a role with his team and off to their best start after a 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake.
There are options for the coach. There is also lots of confidence and consistency that has paved this team to their best ever start to an MLS season at 5-0-1. The last couple of seasons there was that lack of consistency at times, but six games shows a team that feels they are unbeatable.
But the decisions of giving time to players who played a role with this team the past few years, that also plays a role with the consistency. In other words, and what magnifies into consistency, is keeping a regular unit on the field and going with that depth on the bench. So regulars like Rodney Wallace and Thomas McNamara will sit and wait their turn,
“What would make my job really difficult for the next game is for me to choose the starting eleven,” said Vieira. “I will have to be honest with the players as usual, It will be a tough decision I will have to make but I will always think about the team before thinking about individuals.”
Case in point to being consistent and having that depth evidenced with goals scored Wednesday night. Jo Inge Berget scored his first NYCFC goal in his home debut and Ebenezer Ofori scored his first goal of the season. Key additions that went along with a goal from Maxi Moralez, a familiar and consistent threat who scored his fourth of the season.
This is what to expect from this NYCFC team, and one they hope to get them over the hump and past the MLS Eastern semifinals in late October,
“I think most importantly for us, every game is a different challenge,” said Sean Johnson. The goalkeeper earned his third clean sheet of the season and no other keeper in the league has that many. He is also one of the regulars who has been around and knows about this consistency.
And Johnson, like his coach is thriving on the consistency that has evolved over these first six games. And this team is getting the contributions from others as Villa has only scored one goal in these six games and still sitting on 398 career goals between his team and international play in Spain.
“For us it’s another important eastern conference matchup,” said Johnson about a hometown reunion at Atlanta Sunday. “This was a good test today. Consistency in this league is everything We have to stick with our game plan. Over the past six games it shows we have been consistent and we are hungry for more.”
And this was the first win over Salt Lake in team history. Consistent with an attack was NYCFC and that has also been evident during this undefeated start to the season and this game was all about over after the first half.
“I think we’ve shown now that we have many players on this team that can score goals,” said Berget the international star from Hadeland Norway. “We have Maxi scoring goals, many that can score and that’s important.”
But as Vieira said, “Their job is to make it difficult to choose the starting eleven. I have a decision to make and I will make it but always putting the team first.” But it is this consistency that works and NYCFC hopes to keep that going down in Atlanta.
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