New York City FC coach Ronny Deila does not believe complacency will be an issue as his team prepare to face struggling Chicago Fire on Wednesday.
NYCFC thrashed MLS champions Columbus Crew 4-1 last time out and they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference, 13 points above 13th-place Chicago.
Deila’s team have won their last three games, but all came at home, while their last two defeats came on the road.
Asked if NYCFC risked underestimating Chicago, who have won just three games all season and are without a victory in four matches.
“It starts with me and the staff, that we prepare the same way we have done before and that we understand what is needed to prepare in the best way,” Deila explained.
“Then that will transmit to the players. We are prepared. If we lose and play bad, that says something about our mentality and we’d have to learn from that.
“I don’t see any signs of complacency or taking things easy, everybody knows that Chicago has been unlucky with small differences, they have gotten too little out of how they have been performing and the chances they’ve had. We know it’s going to be a tough game.”
Raphael Wicky, meanwhile, was thrilled with the resolve Chicago showed to take their first point on the road this season, as the Fire – who had a man sent off - drew 1-1 with Philadelphia Union.
“Great credit to the team, great effort and I’m proud of what they have done because it’s not easy, the situation where we are,” Wicky said.
“Last week the results didn’t come and then you come here and then you’re winning 1-0 and then you go down a man. It meant something and I think everyone showed a lot of character.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chicago Fire – Alvaro Medran
All five of Alvaro Medran’s assists this season have come at Soldier Field. Chicago’s playmaker has improved after a slow start to the season.
NYCFC – Thiago
Thiago scored and assisted against Columbus, leaving Deila thoroughly impressed. “Thiago has been really good coming in, he’s adapted very quick,” he said. “He has a lot of quality, he has speed, we have something different, extra quality.”
KEY OPTA FACTS
– NYCFC has lost just one of its last 12 matches against the Fire (W7 D4) including winning four of the last five (D1). Both of Chicago’s wins over NYCFC have come at home, where New York has won only two of six visits (D2 L2).
– Chicago has lost only two of its last seven games (W2 D3) after losing seven of its previous eight matches (W1). The Fire have scored in each of the last seven games after scoring just one goal in the previous seven matches.
– New York City FC’s 4-1 win over Columbus on Friday was the seventh time NYCFC has scored at least four goals in a match since the start of last season. No other team has done so more than four times (LAFC, Portland) in that span.
– Only Carles Gil (7) and Mauricio Pereyra (6) have recorded more assists at home than Medran.
– NYCFC leads MLS in both shots attempted per match this season (16.7) and fewest shots allowed per match this season (8.2). The +8.5 shots per match is on pace to be the largest margin since Opta began fully analyzing MLS matches in 2010, ahead of Los Angeles FC’s +7.7 in 2019.