David Villa struck twice against Orlando City last week. NYCFC probably will need a repeat performance for another win Sunday. (Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)
PURCHASE, N.Y. — The last time New York City FC rolled over a team at home, the third-year Major League Soccer club was paid back by the same club on the road.
In its home opener March 12, NYCFC recorded an emphatic 4-0 win over D.C. United. Less than a month later on April 8, D.C. turned the tables en route to a 2-1 victory.
On Sunday, City visits expansion Atlanta United. Only three weeks ago, the team registered a 3-1 victory over the expansion team at Yankee Stadium, which head coach Patrick Vieira called “the perfect game.”
Needless to say, NYCFC does not want to see history repeat itself in Atlanta.
“We know how good they are and we know how strong they are at home,” Vieira said earlier this week. “We saw the game against Houston and saw the amount of chances they created and how many goals they scored. We saw how good they were up front and we expect a really tough game.”
Third-place NYCFC (20 points) is 6-4-2 overall and an impressive 3-3-1 on the road. Ninth-place Atlanta (15), which is 4-4-2 and 2-2-0 at Bobby Dowd Stadium, is coming off a resounding a 4-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo.
“It will take a lot of humility,” Vieira said. “It’s good to have our performance against Orlando in our mind.”
The coach was referring to the 3-0 triumph at Orlando City Stadium last week.
“We have to go there, roll our sleeves up and work hard,” Vieira said. “If we go there and if we make mistakes, we will get punished. We have to go there, concentrate and work really hard – our team has to perform really well with and without the ball.
“We have to go there and believe in ourselves and to know how good we are.”
Last week City avenged a pair of early season defeats at Yankee Stadium to its nemesis, Orlando, in an Eastern Conference encounter.
“What is important for us is to concentrate on our performance against Orlando,” Vieira said.
Team captain and 2016 MLS MVP David Villa, moving into mid-season form, led the visitors with two goals.
“I think it’s important for us to keep that game in our mind because the way we started the game, the way we went there and we played with a lot of personality and a lot of belief – that was very good, especially knowing how good Orlando are,” Vieira added.
“To go there and play so well is very positive for us and we have to keep that performance in our mind.”