Eugene Rupinski, Brotherly Game) No Pirlo, no party? What's the story with Andrea Pirlo, and is he even necessary with the club playing so well?
Jake Gofman, Hudson River Blue) Patrick Vieira and NYC FC has made the call, and it's no more parties. The hope coming into this season was that Pirlo could remain serviceable in the center of the park, and that his sensational vision and passing ability would continue to outweigh his defensive deficiencies. Unfortunately for Pirlo, it was apparent at the outset that Il Maestro had lost more than just a step, and was a turnstile of sorts in the midfield. He has become so ineffective in the defense that it is almost as if New York was defending with 10 men. Moreover, the passing hasn't been there either, so the move to bench him had to be made.
The ideal replacement has been Yangel Herrera, who stepped in and, since day one, done everything Pirlo could not. He is a box to box midfield type, focused primarily on defending. Despite being inexperienced, he has great patience on the ball and allowed the forward players to stay up the pitch while he and Alexander Ring spring attacking moves. Pirlo is not going to be a part of the plan moving forward for NYC, and while we'll miss him, it's certainly the right move for the club.
tBG) Level with us. There's no way the pitch at Yankees Stadium is regulation size, right? Is there any sign of NYCFC getting a stadium of their own, or is that a lost cause at this point?
HRB) No, definitely not. It may not even be rectangular to be honest. It's all an optical illusion and I'm you patient zero for starting a conspiracy theory about it.
The supporters of the team are all antsy to get a new stadium, but as of now there are no plans, and NYC FC fans should accept the fact that Yankee Stadium will be the team's home for the next several years. That dude Charles Dunst wrote up an excellent piece on the situation New York's management has created for itself by not being proactive. In effect, management was naive to think it would be easy to find a location that would work, making extravagant promises to the fan base it could not keep. Leadership at the club has realized Yankee stadium is a location the team cannot beat, that has appeal to new fans and provides an opportunity for the team to grow its brand. Expect to see the Philadelphia Union playing NYC FC in Yankee Stadium for years to come.
HRB) First of all, what kind of nonsense scheduling is this? Three matches in seven days is outrageous.
Squad rotation has not been a strong suite for Patrick Vieira yet, to say the least. We had a midweek away match against RSL a few weeks back after a weekend game and Vieira overhauled the team, replacing all three attacking player and swapping two defensive players. The team lost a very winnable match that night, and Vieira apologized for the team selection. Tasked with rotating the team midweek this week, Vieira went the opposite route, making very few substitutions and hoping his players could get the three points without expending all of their energy. As the result shows, NYC ran out of gas Wednesday at home and I'm concerned the same may happen against Philly. The main playmakers on the pitch, Harrison, Moralez, and Villa, are all going to be logging all or most of the 270+ minutes played over these seven days and that's a concern.
I imagine Vieira tries for some tempered rotating. I think Moralez and Villa will start again, but he will be quick on the trigger to make a change if they look sluggish. Harrison and/or Wallace will likely rest, and I imagine the same will be true for one or both of our fullbacks. Vieira is still learning on the job, and he has a very tough task balancing the health of his players this weekend against the need to get 3 points.
Injuries, suspensions, etc.) No suspensions, and Yangel is with Venezuela's U-20 team.
Khiry Shelton remains out with a hamstring problem, while Ronald Matarrita and Andre Pirlo are questionable again.
Projected lineup:) Sean Johnson; Frederic Brillant, Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot, RJ Allen; Alexander Ring, Tommy McNamara, Maxi Moralez; Miguel Camargo, David Villa, Jack Harrison