BRIDGEVIEW, Ill.—Patrick Vieira insisted New York City FC will get "better and stronger" after their impressive 4-3 victory over the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Sunday.
NYCFC's first-year head coach praised the collective effort of his charges – goals from Thomas McNamara, Tony Taylor, Khiry Shelton and Mix Diskerud helped weather an energized second-half comeback from the Fire – to take all three points and start the season with a hard-earned road win.
"It was a really good team performance," Vieira said. "I strongly believe we are not at our best at the moment because it was our first game of the league. We will get better and stronger, but I was very proud of the team because when we went through a difficult period, especially the last 15 or 20 minutes, we stuck together and we worked well."
With veteran Andrea Pirlo, McNamara and Diskerud orchestrating proceedings from midfield, the visitors enjoyed a remarkable 62 percent of the possession and kept their nerve to hold on despite the Fire’s improved efforts after halftime.
"We stuck to our philosophy, the way we want to play football," Vieira said. "At times we played some really good football, our build-up from the back was really good, we created a lot of chances and this is the way that we want to play this year."
McNamara opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a sublime curled right-footed effort after finding time and space in front of the Fire defense.
He knew it was going in the moment it left his foot.
"I don’t even remember how I got the ball, but I just knew that I had enough time and space to take a touch and just tried to warp my foot around it, back post," he said. "And when it came off my foot, I just knew I hit it clean."