NYCFC aims for home win over Rapids

New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira got the response he was looking for from his team after a 4-0 thrashing by the rival New York Red Bulls two weeks ago in the Hudson River Derby.

Now, after NYCFC’s hard-fought 2-2 draw at LAFC on Sunday night, Vieira is looking for a win against the struggling Colorado Rapids on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium.

“I wanted a response from the team and I think I had it today,” Vieira said after Sunday’s draw. “We worked hard, we worked well, and we made it really difficult for them, so taking a point in a really difficult place is good, but when you look at the way we played that time, it’s really positive for us.”

NYCFC (6-2-3) is four points back of Eastern Conference leader Atlanta United FC after the draw with LAFC. It is also a perfect 4-0-0 at home, outscoring the opposition 11-2. NYCFC is certainly comfortable at Yankee Stadium, but the field’s cozy confines doesn’t do them justice, according to Rapids first-year coach Anthony Hudson.

“They’ve got class all over the pitch and they have a good style. The size of the pitch probably doesn’t suit their game,” he said. “I think the way they play they probably suit a bigger pitch.”

There were defensive miscues that led to LAFC’s two goals, but there were positives in the attacking third with David Villa netting his fifth goal of the season after being held without a shot before being subbed off against the Red Bulls. And Ismael Tajouri-Shradi made his return from injury to score his fifth goal of the season to equalize in the second half.

Colorado (2-5-2) has struggled offensively and is tied with Seattle Sounders FC for last place in the Western Conference after becoming the Red Bulls’ third consecutive victim with the visitors prevailing 2-1 at Dicks Sporting Goods Park.

The defeat was the fourth straight for the Rapids, with the last three all by one goal.

“We’re not happy with the run, but the mood is upbeat. Training this morning was excellent, everyone is focused on the next game, the morale is good,” Hudson said. “We have to again be positive, be focused, which we’ve been doing even in spite of the run. The last game especially the players were focused, they gave everything That’s why I’m upbeat.”

Hudson said he’s optimistic that a few players will soon be available for selection after a slew of injuries. One player who has come to the squad and hit the ground running is midfielder Sam Nicholson, who arrived in a trade with Minnesota United FC on May 2.

“I’ve been really impressed with him,” Hudson said. “I love him as a player, his energy, he’s attack-minded, he’s direct, he’s got a strong personality on the pitch. He’s a player you trust in, with and without the ball. He’s a really good addition to the team.”

This is the fourth all-time meeting between the teams. NYCFC claimed a 5-1 victory in the lone game played at Yankee Stadium on July 30, 2016.