Last Saturday, for the first time probably ever, Patrick Vieira started New York City FC’s match against Colorado in something other than the usual 4-4-3 formation that the club has used since his arrival in 2016.
Instead, he started the game in a 3-4-1-2 formation (three defenders in the back, five total midfielders and two forwards) and kept the Rapids confined on the outside.
The result: a 4-0 win — granted it was against a Colorado Rapids team that’s dead last in the league standings.
Now, the question going into Friday’s match at the Houston Dynamo is what do they have in store for an encore on a larger pitch?
“Every game that you play has different challenges,” Vieira said after Tuesday’s training session, “and this one is the size of the field, the pace of the front players and the toughness of their back line. So we take everything in consideration and try to prepare for the game as well as we can.”
Houston (4-3-3, 15 points) pulled a comeback 3-2 win against the Chicago Fire on Sunday, their first road win of the season. The Dynamo have lost just once in their last six matches entering Friday night.
“I think being in control of the game in Houston is going to be key,” forward Rodney Wallace said. “They feed off their energy at home, they’ve got quality players, they got pace, you know they can mix and match. So controlling the game, making sure that we have the ball and making it really hard for them is going to be important for us.”
NYCFC (7-2-3, 24 points) hasn’t been as dominant on the road, compared with at home this season, recording just a pair of wins away from the Bronx. The last win away from home was a 2-1 victory at the San Jose Earthquakes back on March 31.