June 15, 2016
'I strongly believe the players didn't perform today and that is unacceptable'
By Michael Lewis
|Patrick Vieira's patience wore thin with his team in its elimination from the U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BRONX, N.Y. -- If you think you might be watching reruns of New York City FC these days, you might not be too far off.
City's elimination from the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup included eerily similar themes that has plagued the team not only this season but last year as well.
For the second successive year, NYC FC was shown the exit in the fourth round of the competition by the Cosmos, this time via a 1-0 loss.
The Major League Soccer side also continued to lose in the Bronx, even if the venue was different. City entered the match have accrued but eight points in nine MLS matches (1-3-5) at Yankee Stadium.
The trend continued at Jack Coffey Field at Fordham University.
And NYC FC has yet to win a derby game. The second-year team is 0-5-1 one. Itís 0-4 against the Red Bulls and 0-1-1 vs. the Cosmos. Last yearís Cosmos shootout win in the Open Cup went into the books officially as a draw even though City was eliminated.
Needless to say, head coach Patrick Vieira was not a happy camper after his side lost to the North American Soccer League defending champions Wednesday night.
He let out some of his frustration after the final whistle and after Danny Szetela scored the game-winner in the 88th minute before a small, yet enthusiastic crowd.
ďYou can lose any kind of game," the former French World Cup winner said. "You can lose against the Red Bulls, you can lose against the Cosmos, you can lose against Philadelphia, you can lose against any team in football. I think if you play from the way we perform, you will lose against any team. And itís not about the Cosmos, itís about us and the way we perform."
"Of course as the manager, as the coach, Iím the one who made the selection and that I am the first one to put my hand in the air and to say yes, I made a mistake when I made the decision to rest so many players and I am the first responsible for the performance of the players. But at the same time, I strongly believe the players didnít perform today and that is unacceptable.Ē
Due to Open Cup rules, teams were allowed to use only five foreign players. So that made Vieira's decision even more difficult because he wanted to give some of his other players an opportunity to play and show their stuff to their coach while sitting the likes of expensive Designated Players David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard.
ďThe hand was tied but at the end you just have to focus game after game," Vieira said. "Iím a little disappointed, yes, because I gave some players a chance to perform, to show me that they deserved to play more and they didnít show it today. And thatís why Iím quite really frustrated, because the trust I had in them, they didnít have it back. Itís difficult for me to accept. My focus was on the game, and now that the game is over we can think about Philadelphia.Ē
City hosts the Philadelphia Union at the stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday. Despite the team's home struggles, NYC FC trails Philly by five points and can close the gap with a win.
Yes, it would be a home win, which hasnít come easy this season.
Still, Wednesday nightís loss hurt bad enough enough.
ďI think in football, the most difficult thing is to keep the game simple," Vieira said. "And to allow yourself to keep the game simple, you have to be a little more humble. I donít think tonight we had the humility to win that game or to make the right decision at the right time.Ē
He wasn't the only one who was disappointed in the result. Forward Patrick Mullins, who was denied by Cosmos right back Hunter Freeman on the team's best opportunity of the night in the 73rd minute, lamented the latest defeat.
ďIím not happy about it at all," he said. "I take it personally. All of the guys take it personally but at the end of the day, itís just very disappointing right now.Ē
So was that close encounter.
"It was a tough angle at the end line and I saw [Kwadwo] Poku and I was trying to get my left foot on the ball to get it to him," Mullins said. "But credit to the defender, he made a nice tackle and those are just the margins of the night. They finished their chance and we didnít, so here we are.