Normally after every match, I would do three takeaways, but after Saturday’s 2-0 loss against the Philadelphia Union, there’s only one takeaway; the defense. Once again, the back four failed miserably and couldn’t get it together leaving Patrick Vieira no choice but to reshuffle.
In seven matches, New York City FC has only gathered up six points, suffering three losses. The only win of the season came in the season opener and even in that game, they allowed three goals.
Against the Union, Vieira lined-up the usual suspects, Andoni Iraola, Jason Hernandez, Frédéric Brillant and Ronald Matarrita. For some reason, the back line can’t grasp the concept of getting back to position. If you want to play your defense high up, then you better make sure they have the ability to get back.
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From game one, we’ve seen the line struggle countless on getting back to cover their man and get killed on the counter attack. After Saturday’s debacle, NYCFC need a new look to this defensive line. They boys in blue allowed two goals out of nowhere and their play quite frankly, was just sloppy.
The main concern I believe that Vieira should look into is his two main center backs, Hernandez and Brillant. Matarrita has proved to be the best signing of the off-season and is owning that left back position. Iraola always bring something to the table with his experience, but even sometimes gets caught napping.
Brillant on the other hand, is struggling mightily adapting to the MLS life. The French defender can’t get it together and makes some rookie mistakes. Even Hernandez at times loses focus and gets lost on the line.
A good reshuffle would be to put Federico Bravo in the center back position, the loanee from Boca Juniors has had glimpses of magic in that defensive midfield position. He’s expressed his desire to play in the midfield role, but has also said he has no problem playing in the back. Even pairing him up with Jefferson Mena might not be a bad idea.
Whatever it is, Vieira needs to reevaluate his defense. The main problem with NYCFC thus far is the defense, the offense seems to clicking together with no problem, but an offense means nothing without a strong defense.