PURCHASE, N.Y. – David Villa doesn’t know anything about magic numbers and he doesn’t care for complicated equations.
The New York City FC captain said his team’s road to a Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs berth is quite simple.
“It’s not about mathematics, we just have to win all three games, and hope the other teams lose since they have more points than we do,” Villa said. “There’s not much else to think about; it doesn't matter if the game is away or at home, we just have to win.”
That’s what NYCFC have done for three consecutive games, matching their longest winning streak of the season. And that’s what they will have to do again against D.C. United at what is expected to be a soggy RFK Stadium on Friday night (7 pm ET; UniMas).
But that still might not be enough.
With three games left in the regular season, NYCFC are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, five points below the red line with sixth-place Montreal still having two games in hand.
“We have won the last three games. But because we've had an irregular season, we don't have much time, therefore, we have to win the last three games,” Villa said. “We’ll focus on the first one, which is DC, and hopefully we can have a good game and get the three points. We’re hoping the results from the other teams are favorable for us. This is all we can do right now.”
If NYCFC get the desired result against D.C. United, they will have to do so without defenders Shay Facey and Andoni Iraola. Facey suffered a knee strain in a light training session Wednesday, while Iraola continues to deal with a calf injury.
NYCFC are enjoying their finest form of the season, in part, because the team’s midseason signings – Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, Jefferson Mena, Angelino and Iraola – are fully integrated into the team and acclimated to their new league.
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Kreis said there is no set timetable for a process that cannot be rushed.
“I’m as guilty as anybody else to try to fool myself into a place that thinks that some players can walk right in and be fantastic in our league,” he said. “I was hopeful that would be the case with [Lampard and Pirlo], with Iraola, Angelino, Jefferson Mena, all these players. The fact is, it just doesn’t happen that way. It takes time.”
And Kreis believes his team is peaking just when it should.
“I think right before we added all the new players in the summer we were coming to a really good point, where everyone had a good continuity and a good idea of what we were after,” Kreis said. “Then we added a bunch of new players and took a step backward. Now I feel we’ve taken two steps forward. I feel like we’re in a good spot right now at the exact right time. Let’s hope it’s not a little too late.”