First, a couple of postgame zingers. Then came the jabs. But I think we just got our first haymaker in the verbal fisticuffs between New York City FC manager Patrick Vieira and Orlando City’s Jason Kreis in the fallout from Sunday’s 3-0 NYCFC win. (h/t @MrChrisMatos)
"I thought the way we played today was quite similar to the last two games. The difference this time was that we created chances and we took our chances. We dominated tonight like the last two games we played against them."
"I'm not quite sure if you looked at the possession statistics that they controlled the game. I think it was darn near 50-50. In my opinion, I think that we as coaches need to do a better job in respecting our opponents after performances."
“I’m not going to accept the personal attack because I believe the way that he talks I think it was a little bit of anger and a personal attack. This is something I will not accept. I will accept everyone’s opinion because I say what I think and people can agree or disagree, but I stay on the field and give an opinion on the game. I think he should do the same and try to control himself a little bit more.
“We said hello, talked about the previous game, the next game, about how his team is going. I have respect for every single coach in the league. Of course, sometimes we can disagree on the way we see the game, but the personal attack is not something I will accept. It’s disappointing, but that’s the way it is.
“I had respect for him before and I will respect him again after. The respect of him is not going to change. Of course, I didn’t like the way that he talked about me not having respect and this is something I don’t accept.”
It brings us no joy that Sunday’s postgame press pugilism has opened up into a groundswell. We’re talking about two of the top managerial minds in North American soccer, and two figures of titanic importance in the brief annals of NYCFC history. But it’s worth noting that these exchanges are not without precedent: last summer, Vieira accused Jesse Marsch of “crying all week” about how his Red Bulls players tend to get treated by referees.
Don’t underestimate Vieira’s deftness in either case: far from being a loose cannon, the particular timing of his headline-grabs serves as needed protection for his players: after NYCFC got crushed by the Red Bulls for the fifth time in six meetings, we were too busy dissecting the apparent managerial feud to go hog-wild criticizing New York City’s players. With questions continuing to swirl about Andrea Pirlo’s status with the team, Vieira has taken every bit of potential heat off the Maestro by taking it on himself. For this, we ought to be cheering him on for his tenacity.
(Legitimate question: as he continues to come into his own as Vieira the Manager, should we expect to see more rugged glimpses of Vieira the Player creeping into the light of day?)
We can’t hide who we are. It’s just not healthy. With that in mind, Patrick Vieira should spread his wings and let the rhetorical punches fly. New York is kinda the perfect market for someone so ready and willing to rumble. And the man is just such a titan of the game that his reputation will never truly be on the line.
But we can only imagine what’s in store for us if New York City and Orlando end up meeting this fall in the playoffs.