Patrick Vieira on NYC FC playing at D.C. United: “It will be totally a different game,” than the 4-0 drubbing March 12. (Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis Editor

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Patrick Vieira has a message for his soccer team:

March 12 was then and April 8 is now.

Translated: forget about New York City’s smashing 4-0 win over D.C. United at Yankee Stadium last month.

Saturday’s 4 p.m. game at RFK Stadium will be a different affair and the team should not be overconfident.

“It will be totally a different game,” Vieira said. “I watched them play the last game against Philly and they did really well.”

Vieira was referring to United’s 2-1 home win over the Philadelphia Union last Saturday.

“For us, the game that we won at home we did really well,” he said. “The game is over. We have to look for the next one. We have to be going there with humility, putting our sleeves up and work hard.”

City (2-1-1, 7 points) is in third place in the Eastern Conference, United (1-2-1, 4) sits ninth. So teams can move up and down the standings quite quickly, depending on the results.

Last year NYC FC turned out to be Major League Soccer’s version of road warriors. City recorded the best away mark in the league at 7-7-3. MLS Cup finalist Toronto FC (6-6-5) was the only other team to play at .500 on the road.

Vieira said he was not about to change the team’s away philosophy.

“It is important,” he said. “We want to create this mentality and this philosophy that every single game we play we want to win at home or away. Our away [record] from last year was really good and it is important for us to go there and try to dictate the game and of course try to win the game. And that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

The head coach said the NYC FC will continue to play the ball out of the back, although he cited it must improve that style.

For the most part this season, Vieira has deployed the same lineup in City’s opening four games this season.

“For us it is important to look at the last game that we played,” he said about last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, and look and try to understand what part of the game we need to improve and keep working in training. our philosophy is clear. I think you guys understand that we want to play from the back. We have a different way of building up from the back. We want to create chances. We want to score goals and of course, there are different ways of doing it.

“As a team, we have to be more solid as well because we want to concede less and we want to create more than what we are doing. So, there is so many parts of the game that we want to improve. We can come out with a different way of building up from the back.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at