NYCFC wants to avoid scenes like this against FC Dallas — Maxi Urruti and his teammates celebrating a goal. (Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports)
FRISCO, Texas — New York City FC goes down to the heart of Texas to take on one of the best, if not the best team in Major League Soccer.
Fresh off a 3-1 home win over Atlanta United last Sunday, City (5-3-1, 16 points), in third place in the Eastern Conference, visits undefeated FC Dallas (5-0-3, 18 points). Now, FC Dallas is in second place in the Western Conference, trailing the Houston Dynamo (6-3-1, 19), but has played two less matches that its state rivals.
In fact, FC Dallas is the lone undefeated MLS side. The eight games without a defeat to start a season is the ninth-longest such start in MLS history. The league record for opening a season without a loss is 12 games (LA Galaxy 1996, Kansas City Wizards 2000, LA 2010, Real Salt Lake 2014).
Not surprisingly, NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira realized his team is in for one tough battle at Toyota Stadium Sunday night (FS1, WFAN ONLINE, WQBU).
“Yes, of course, they are one of the best teams in MLS,” he said.
It should be noted that FC Dallas boasts a 13-game unbeaten streak (7-0-6) in regular season action, dating back to Sept. 17, 2016. It is the second longest such streak in club history and the longest since going 19 consecutive matches without a loss from May 27 to Oct. 9, 2010.
“When you look, they managed to win the league last season and they have some really good players,” Vieira said. “They play well, they’ve got pace, they’ve got technique – it’s going to be a big challenge for us but I’m looking forward to it.”
While FC Dallas is best known for producing and being patient with its Homegrown players, its hottest player is
Argentine striker Maxi Urruti. After scoring two goals in FC Dallas’ 3-0 victory at Real Salt Lake last week, Urruti has three goals in his last two games and six this season. He netted a career-high nine goals in 2016.
NYCFC has been inconsistent at times, but played arguably its best game last Sunday.
“It’s been up and down – when you look at the games we’ve played so far, the results have made for a lot of frustration of course because I believe we should have more points than we have at the moment,” Vieira said.
“Overall, I’m pleased with the way we’ve been playing. The team is looking better game after game and we have to just keep that momentum and try to win our next game.”
Saturday night’s match is the start of a difficult road stretch for City, which plays three times in eight days. NYCFC visits Real Salt Lake Wednesday night before meeting nemesis Orlando City next Sunday night.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Vieira said. “Dallas, Salt Lake and Orlando are going to be a tough three games but at the same time it’s going to be a good challenge for us. How can we prepare the team to be ready? We look at the best way to travel as well. How can we manage to have every player fit?
“That’s quite exciting. It’s not easy but we’re looking forward to it as I feel we have a good plan in place to challenge all the teams we’re going to face.”