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Mr. Vieira, I warned you about that Pirlo guy

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You didn’t listen. YOU DIDN’T LISTEN!

MLS: New York City FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

So, this is what $5,000,000 gets you these days:

Listen, Patrick, I get it. Sometimes, you can’t help but dance with the devil. It’s hard to resist the utter seductiveness of the dashing bloke with the cool hair, refined tastes, exotic vacation homes, and fleet of fabulous, sexy automobiles.

But I thought we already talked about this after NYCFC’s 4-0 dismantling by Toronto back in July. Back when Sebastian Giovinco made the Maestro into a turnstile.

It happened again. Again-again.

All told, it comes down to this:

  1. Sometimes, Andrea Pirlo helps facilitate goals.
  2. But not that often, particularly this year: 0 assists in 928 minutes.
  3. He can’t do anything to stop the team from conceding.
  4. NYCFC can score goals without Pirlo’s help, even when David Villa is absent.
  5. Before Wednesday vs. Sporting KC, the team (second best in MLS!) hadn’t won in a Pirlo start since April.

Are you shocked to hear that New York City takes more than double the points per game when Pirlo doesn’t make the starting XI versus when he does? It would be appropriate to say that the team is effectively twice as good when he doesn’t feature. And with such glaring splits, you’d think that the prognosis would be obvious.

Sure, the Sporting KC win was great. Pirlo didn’t get gashed. He was productive in buildup. But SKC doesn’t score goals. They just don’t. Portland dumps them in like mad. Giving the Timbers any extra help is a ghastly bit of business— and with a depleted roster Saturday, Pirlo’s “assist” made all the difference.

It’s a brutal fact, but also a true one: !!!JAMES SANDS!!! or Kwame Awuah may not have done a damn thing to help the attack if they had started in Pirlo’s place, but you can bet that they would never, in a million years, have given that ball away as nonchalantly as the Maestro did.

I mean, at this point, the Maestro’s game is downright flaky. Aloof. Out to lunch. He’s thinking about his next glass of Chablis.

Say what you want about untested rookies; at least they aren’t lacking for motivation, concentration, and the deepest desire to please their manager.

What’s the evidence that Pirlo, the man who is famously “not impressed,” is out there busting his tail in exchange for Patrick Vieira’s approval? He surely views himself as Vieira’s equal in the greater scope of the footballing landscape. Years later, we may view him that way. But for now, it’s like he doesn’t even have a pulse.

And in turn, his on-field product is joyless. We know it. You know it.

Ya know who doesn’t seem to know it? The manager. Which is why we’ve said all year that Pirlo’s odious errors, and all the spoiled results that have gone with them, aren’t really his fault— they’re Vieira’s. He’s the man with the clipboard. The veto pen.

But to hear him tell it:

“It happens. Everybody [loses] the ball. And it happened that this time it’s Andrea,” the gaffer said after the game. “So many players have lost the ball in a difficult area. It happened that we conceded a goal. This is part of a game.”

Part of what, now? Are we talking about the same game here?

Vieira could stop all of this if he wanted to. Instead, he’s doubling down on his mistake with what amounts to bullshit equivocation. It could have happened to anyone. We all could have played better. This isn’t about Andrea.

Well, that last part is actually something I can agree with: this isn’t about Andrea.

It’s about you.