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NYCFC to test ability to rebound vs. FC Dallas

New York City FC's franchise-best, seven-match unbeaten streak is a thing of the past after a 3-0 loss to the Portland Timbers last Sunday.

Now, according to New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira, is the time to learn something about his team, which plays host to undefeated FC Dallas on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

"It's a big challenge and we are really excited because it's going to be another test for us, how can we bounce back from a defeat against Portland," Vieira said. "One way or another, I will learn a lot about my team and about my players."

The response since Vieira became coach has been excellent, with NYCFC not suffering consecutive losses since dropping back-to-back road games to Columbus Crew SC and Philadelphia Union in April 2016.

But this is, in large part, a different team with 12 new players signed in the offseason.

"Maybe we didn't get the result we wanted in Portland, but being able to just reset mentally and physically and come back with the same mentality that we have for the most part this season is what defines us as a group," goalkeeper Sean Johnson said.

Against Portland, NYCFC (5-1-2) had nearly 75 percent of the possession, completed nearly 900 passes and topped 91 percent in accuracy. But they lacked that killer ball to unlock the Timbers defense and Jeff Attinella had a fairly pedestrian day in goal, making just three saves for the shutout.

Vieira is expecting a similar tactical game plan from FC Dallas (3-0-3), which conceded possession to New England two weeks ago but still emerged with a 1-0 victory at Gillette Stadium before beating the Philadelphia Union 2-0 at home last week.

"When you look at the game against Portland, we had the possession, but we didn't choose the ball as well as we could. For me, that was my main focus during the week, about how can we use the ball much better than we did it," Vieira said.

"Then, if we do things well, we will have more chance of winning games. I think against Portland we had the ball, but we didn't create enough to give them problem."

FC Dallas comes to the Bronx having never lost to NYCFC in three meetings (one win, two draws). The lone undefeated team remaining in MLS, FC Dallas has won back-to-back games -- both against Eastern Conference opponents -- but face their stiffest test to date Sunday.

While FC Dallas is enjoying a strong run at the moment, coach Oscar Pareja knows this is not the time to rest, especially against a wounded NYCFC team that has outscored the opposition 8-1 in three wins at Yankee Stadium.

"There are difference tacks that we're analyzing -- the size of the field, the initiative of the opponent, the formation, the key players they have. Sometimes teams have players the sequences normally go through them," Pareja said.

"All those things will be put into that analysis and then have the initiative or the plan to control, neutralize what they do good and try to exploit what we do good."

Updated April 27, 2018

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