Patrick Vieira endured a long afternoon on the sideline. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
HARRISON, N.J. — Patrick Vieira endured a living nightmare Saturday afternoon.
After his New York City FC was trounced by the Red Bulls, the head coach admitted he could not believe what he had seen. His team had showed very little fight in a 4-0 loss at Red Bull Arena.
“I’m really frustrated about the competitiveness, about the desire we had on the field,” he said. “You know, I’m prepared to accept that we can lose games, but the way we lost today with the lack of conviction, the lack of competitiveness is something that I can’t accept.”
At halftime, Vieira made one change in his starting lineup, switching center back Maxime Chanot, whose giveaway led to the Red Bulls’ second goal in the fourth minute. Chanot was replaced by Sebastian Ibeagha.
“If I had the chance to change all the 10 players on the field, I was going to do it at halftime,” he said. “I wasn’t really happy with every single player on the field, so I just made these changes and try to change the tactical side of the game and went three at the back. But it didn’t work.”
And that included the presence of team captain and striker David Villa, who recorded a hat-trick in a 3-2 derby win last year.
Villa, who reached 400 career goals in last week’s 3-1 home win over FC Dallas, could not match his heroics Saturday. In fact, he did not take a shot and was never a factor.
“I don’t want to talk about a single player,” Vieira said. “I think it was tough for David. He didn’t have the support that he normally had. We didn’t play as well as we could from the back. I think it was more a collective nightmare than just an individual.”