NYCFC has struggled with Andrea Pirlo in the side, and as such, Patrick Vieira has little choice but to drop the Italian maestro.
NYCFC’s disastrous 4-0 loss to Toronto sees them drop back into third and six points behind the Eastern Conference Leaders. The Yankee Stadium club could drop further down the table should they suffer a defeat to the New York Red Bulls in the Hudson River Derby this Sunday.
The loss itself isn’t that great a concern, despite the six point lead that Toronto now has on NYCFC. The team had not yet lost by more than two goals prior to last Sunday, and while it is a shame to see an impressive record end, as long as heavy defeats don’t occur too often, Patrick Vieira can point his direction to other matters.
However, on an individual scale, certain players simply aren’t cutting it — even if their careers have been full of success at the highest level of the game.
Yes, not even Andrea Pirlo can escape the impacts of age. Football supporters of any side will appreciate all that Pirlo has offered to the sport, but at the moment, he is providing little for NYCFC.
While NYCFC’s collective displays have not been nearly as poor throughout the season as they were in Canada, Pirlo himself was. He did nothing to prevent Toronto’s domination of the middle of the park as NYCFC fell to a humiliating defeat.
Vieira has given the Italian multiple opportunities to impress this season but they have rarely turned out better than the latest outing. Just a few weeks ago, he struggled in the defeat to Vancouver as the Canadians rolled over NYCFC’s midfield in the second half.
There is no hiding the fact that NYCFC plays their best football when Pirlo is on the sideline. The midfielder didn’t even play in NYCFC’s convincing victories against Columbus, Atlanta and the Red Bulls, as well as several others.
It may just turn out to be a poor run of form. Lampard performed well last season despite being 38 years of age and playing further up the pitch. Pirlo’s position, as does any, requires physicality, but centers around intelligence, which never declines. However, at 38, poor performances are typically a result of a player’s body getting the better of him.
The veteran midfielder may still have something left in store before his career comes to a close. NYCFC still have half a season left to play.
For the time being, however, the integration of Pirlo into Vieira’s lineup is difficult to see.