NYC FC manager Patrick Vieira has claimed that he will be putting his MLS rivalries aside by supporting the NY Red Bulls and Toronto FC this week, as the franchises bid for a place in the Concacaf Champions League final. Vieira has claimed that he will be glued to his television hoping that both of his MLS rivals advance, regardless of what NYC FC fans have to say.
It’s rare for any representative of a soccer club to support their biggest rivals, but this week Patrick Vieira believes that there are bigger things at stake than local pride. There are few MLS rivalries bigger than NY Red Bulls v NYC FC – expect perhaps Toronto FC and NYC FC. The Eastern Conference clubs have experienced some fierce derby clashes over the last few seasons, with Toronto completely embarrassing Vieira’s side, with a 7-0 aggregate victory in the 2016 MLS playoffs.
It seems that Vieira holds no grudges over NYC FC’s rivals however, and will be supporting both MLS clubs during this week’s CCL semi-finals.
New York Red Bulls will be attempting to overturn a 1-0 deficit when they host Chivas de Guadalajara this afternoon, whereas Toronto FC travel to Mexico with a 3-1 aggregate lead over Club America.
Surprisingly, Vieira is hoping both MLS clubs will progress to the final.
“I think we have to put rivalry on the side and [put all the support behind] Toronto and Red Bulls and hoping both of them will go through,” said Vieira “That will be, I think, a really strong statement and a strong message to the football world. Having one of those teams representing from MLS I think will be good.”
“You have to promote the MLS. It is really good exposure for the league,” he added. “I think them doing well will help even us to bring good players in the league.”
Vieira makes a good point, and seeing an MLS side win the CCL (in its current format) for the first time would be empowering for each of the clubs in the North American league. NYC FC are currently top of the Eastern Conference and Vieira may well have his eye on next season’s CCL title – if an MLS club conquer Mexico this season, perhaps they can do it again in the near future.