|NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira at a soccer field dedication in East Harlem on Tuesday morning. Photo by Jason Schott.|
New York City Football Club will be entering the regular season finale Sunday afternoon against the Columbus Crew looking to hold on to second place in the Eastern Conference.
NYCFC has a record of 16-8-9, 56 points, just one point ahead of the Chicago Fire, who have 55 points and record of 16-7-10.
For NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira, the objective going into this game is clear, "We want to finish as high as we can and that is second and we are going to try to do it.
"We want to finish second because that's the highest that we can do. That's the objective, that's our target. Of course, we make the playoff. That was our first objective, and now the second one is try to finish as high as we can. We want to finish second because we want to give ourselves a chance to prepare for the game."
Finishing second means NYCFC would have a week off before the playoffs, and Vieira continued on second place's importance, "It's because it's the highest spot that you can get. Of course, the really important point is it's the highest spot that you can get. To me, it even gives you more preparation as well for the next game. This is important as well. The more time you have, the more prepared you will be. It is not guaranteed, but at least that will give yourself the best preparation to perform."
If NYCFC does not hold on to the number two seed, they would have to play a play-in game midweek, and Vieira said of that, "Playing on Wednesday, winning on Wednesday and moving to the game on Saturday, gives you the momentum to approach the game.
The game Sunday will be played at Citi Field due to Yankee Stadium being used for the American League Championship Series.
Vieira, who was at a NYC Soccer Initiative field dedication on Tuesday morning, said of playing at Citi Field, "It's a difficult one, of course, it's not easy. We're used to playing at the Yankees, that is our home, and of course, when you play a home game on a different field, it's not the best preparation.
"We knew about it, it's not a surprise because the Yankees are doing well, and they will do well in the next few years as well, so this is a problem that we are going to face until we have a new stadium."
NYCFC will have a training session at Citi Field on Friday, and the pitch will have the same dimension as the one at Yankee Stadium does.
Vieira said of the reason to keep the dimension the same even though they could have made the field bigger, "Because we're used to the size at home, the Yankees, we want to keep it that way because we want to feel like it's a home game, you know, with the dimension, and try to create the kind of atmosphere we have at the Yankees, and we don't want to change it."
On whether any playoff games will be played at Citi Field if the Yankees move on to the World Series, Vieira said, "I don't know, I hope they're going to make it because we want them to do well, and then we'll see what happens...wait and see."
Vieira was asked if they gave him any playoff tickets, and he said, "I'm going today" to game four of the American League Championship Series.
NYCFC is coming off a 2-1 loss on the road to the New England Revolution on Sunday, October 15. Diego Fagundez scored a pair of goals for the Revs, in the 51st and 92nd minutes. Khry Shelton got NYCFC's lone goal in the 93rd minute.
The game was marked by a red card given to Jack Harrison in the 25th minute.
Vieira said of the controversial play, "I strongly believe that's not a red card at all...I can't understand the referee's decision because with the speed of the game, it can look like a dangerous play, but I am really frustrated because, when you have the VAR (video replay) looking at the game, looking at it from a different angle, and has to communicate with the referee, and disappointed, frustrated, don't understand how they can confirm to the referee that that was a red card. Overall, I think the game was difficult for the referees."
On whether NYCFC will appeal the red card, Vieira said, "That is something as a club we will talk about later."