Unbeaten NYCFC seeks improvement vs. Orlando City FC
The record after the first two games of the season is unblemished for the first time in the club's short history, but everything isn't perfect for New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira.
"There are a lot of parts of the game that we need to improve," Vieira said. "If (you ask if) I'm happy with the way we played after two games I would say yes because at times we played some really good football, we had a lot of possession of the ball, we created a lot of situations and we didn't concede much.
"I think that's quite good for only two games into the competition, but we're still a long way to go and some sides of the game we need to improve a lot if we want to do well in this league."
NYCFC enter Saturday afternoon's game against Orlando City SC at Yankee Stadium as one of just four teams in the league to earn a maximum six points from their first two games, joining Columbus Crew SC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and expansion side LAFC.
After opening the season with a 2-0 win at Sporting Kansas City, NYCFC raised the curtain at Yankee Stadium with a 2-1 win over LA Galaxy Sunday.
David Villa scored in the home opener for the fourth consecutive year and Swedish right back Anton Tinnerholm, one of 10 newcomers during the offseason, opened his season with a left-footed rocket in the first half.
There are no injuries, no suspensions and very few complaints in NYCFC camp this week.
"As a coach when you have all the players available, it's making your job even tougher," Vieira said. "But it's good when everybody is fit because everybody wants to play and of course when you win the first two games that makes the camp I would say more happy."
The same is not true for Orlando City SC, a team that has more than its share of both injuries and suspensions to start the season, resulting in a shaky start with just one point from its first two home games of the year.
There's a bevy of injuries to key players, including probable starters like forwards Dom Dwyer (quad strain) and Stefano Pinho (right ankle), as well as midfielder Josue Colman (thigh bruise).
A positive, though, is the return from suspension of Sacha Kljestan, who is one of the biggest additions the club made during the offseason and who will make his Lions debut Saturday. One of the top playmakers in MLS for the last three years, Kljestan served a two-game ban following a halftime tunnel scuffle with Toronto FC's Jozy Altidore when he was with the New York Red Bulls during the Eastern Conference semifinals last November.?
Kljestan has 10 career assists against NYCFC, the most by any active player against any MLS club.
"NYCFC is a very good team, it's going to be a very big test I think for me for my first game," Kljestan said. "But I'm very excited to be back."
Updated March 16, 2018