Patrick Vieira (left), pictured with Claudio Reyna: “We gave D.C. a lot of hope and I don’t think we were aggressive enough.” (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)

PURCHASE, N.Y. — The way a soccer team comes out of the gate, especially in a road match, can go a long way in determining its fate in the contest.

Come out strong and that could take you through a solid 90 minutes and secure precious away points.

Come out slow and there is a good chance you might not recover.

New York City FC suffered the latter fate last Saturday in a 2-1 loss at D.C. United.

On Friday night, City has an opportunity to show the result in the nation’s capital was an aberration as it visits the last-place Philadelphia Union in Chester, Pa. at 7:30 p.m. ET.

A disappointed head coach Patrick Vieira felt the team’s lack of aggression at RFK Stadium helped cost his 2-2-1 side the game.

“It got away from us because of the way we started the game,” Vieira said at SUNY-Purchase earlier this week. “We gave D.C. a lot of hope and I don’t think we were aggressive enough. When you give them hope, with the quality of the players they have, they hurt us.”

Added defender Ronald Matarrita: “We have to pick our heads up, a bad game can always happen.”

Vieira doesn’t want to see history duplicate itself, so he must find a way to make sure City comes out more aggressive at Talen Energy Stadium.

“We want to challenge the team and be honest ourselves,” he said. “When you’re going to D.C., our approach of the game, the way we want to play was good. We need to add something more to our game to compete against an MLS team. The way we want to play the game is really positive, is good. But if you want to take a result away from home or even at home, you need to add a little bit more and we didn’t do it against D.C.”

Both teams are coming off losses. Philadelphia (0-3-2) suffered a 3-1 loss to the Portland Timbers last week, a result that was much more devastating because the Union dropped points at home.

“We have to pick our heads up, a bad game can always happen,” defender Ronald Matarrita said. “We have Philadelphia next and we’re focused on doing things well on getting three points and performing on the pitch.

“Teams that not have had many positive results are always very dangerous to play. We also lost our last match so we are in a similar situation. we’re very focused on doing well in Philly and playing an excellent game.”

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