Jack Harrison: “We believe as a team we can win. If we just carry on that way, we’ll be alright.” (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
Patrick Vieira believes, he believes that New York City FC can turn things around despite facing seemingly insurmountable odds.
“This is a difficult task, there’s no doubt about it,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira told reporters after training at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Friday. “There’s no team in this league who went [three goals] down and turned it around, it never happened. But there’s always a first time. It may be Sunday. It may be next year.”
NYCFC will try to climb out of a 4-1 hole after its distressing loss at Columbus Crew SC in the first leg Tuesday night.
City, which hosts Columbus at Yankee Stadium Sunday at 5:15 p.m., needs to score three goals and hold the visitors to none to move onto the conference final. It certainly isn’t an impossible task, but a rather difficult one.
“We both have to wait and see what is going to happen,” Vieira said. “I think when you have three goals in advance like that, they’re going to be sitting down and waiting and go into the counterattack because they have the players to do it. We have our game plan and we’re going to be ready.”
Forward Jack Harrison, in the midst of his worst slump of the season (one goal in his last eight games), echoed his coach’s optimistic sentiments. He believes as well.
“If you think about it too much and you stress about it, you’re only putting more pressure on yourself,” he said. “With a relaxed setting, we want everyone feeling good going in to this. We believe as a team we can win. If we just carry on that way, we’ll be alright.”
Whoever scores the first goal will be able to dictate the game. If it’s NYCFC, it will be clutching to a stronger lifeline. If it’s Columbus, the series could be all but over.
“I feel confident,” Harrison said. “I believe in the team. We can definitely achieve going through to the next round. I think if you look at the last game, we had a couple chances early on and I think if we put them away it’s a completely different game.”