Facing adversity has become routine for New York City FC in 2017. The club has rallied from one-goal deficits in three games during their current four-match win streak, including Thursday’s 3-1 win over Minnesota United in the Bronx.
Such tests throughout a season can make or break a club. The last two seasons, adversity broke them. This year, the Blues are breaking it.
“We have a lot of character,” head coach Patrick Vieira said. “I think the balance is really good between the way we want to play and the character we have in the team.”
NYCFC’s mettle was tested just over an hour before kickoff Thursday, when R.J. Allen and Ethan White were late to a team meeting. Allen was expected to start and White on the bench. Instead, Vieira benched Allen and took White off of the 18-man lineup for the night.
“We just have some rules that we’ve been talking about during the preseason,” Vieira explained, “and one of them is that any players who will be late for a team meeting the day of the game will not be part of the game.”
Instead of Allen at right back, Ben Sweat stepped in and delivered another solid performance in Allen’s place. A week after scoring his first MLS goal, he snagged his fourth assist of the season against the Loons on Alexander Callens’ game-tying goal in the 38th minute.
“Patrick [Vieira] does a great job of having everybody on the same page, and it shows,” Sweat said. “Everyone plays together, works together and it’s fun. It’s way more fun that way and winning is an even better feeling because, you know, we deserve it after working that hard and sacrificing so much.”
NYCFC’s fourth straight win tied a club record from last summer. Overall, they’re riding a five-match unbeaten streak entering their matchup Wednesday (10 p.m., YES) against the Vancouver Whitecaps north of the border.
“It’s a good run for us,” Jack Harrison said. “I think we’re really coming together as a team right now. You can see it when we’re playing.”