For Yohan Croizet, he expected it would take some time to get used to a new league and while he was not surprised by the level of competition, he is definitely not satisfied with his first game.
“I don’t think I played a good game because I lost too many simple balls, sometimes that happens but I need to work more on my adaptation to these games,” the French attacker told The Blue Testament. “I think I have some good actions and defensively also but I need to have some more time to be confident.”
Sporting Kansas City lost their first match of the season 2-0 to New York City FC. The first half was dominated by NYCFC but in the second half Sporting KC started to find their possession and create chances.
“The first game is always difficult for the two teams,” Croizet reflected. “We lose the first game and it’s strange when you play at home, you always want to win but now we have the next game against Chicago and we need to improve on the first game.”
Every league is a little different and preseason is only a taste of what is to come when the games count. Croizet explained what was different from playing in Belgium, “This league is more physical, for the set pieces, for challenges, everything is more physical. For the first game, we were surprised, New York came really high to press. We can do better for sure. Now it is another week and another game and we need to stay positive.”
In preseason Croizet played as an attacking midfielder until Felipe Gutierrez was signed, he was then moved to the wing by manager Peter Vermes. “For sure my (preferred) position is in the middle with this system I can’t play the number 10 so I have to accept it and adapt to it,” Croizet explained. Now I have to play on the right side, also in the preseason for three or four games.”
“When you play on the right side and you have one occasion to attack the defender, we need to be ready,” Croizet continued. “What happened in the first game with me is after I miss one or two control opportunities my mentality changed. It is very difficult for me because when I play in the middle I am more free and I can change the game when I want.”
Croizet noted that he tended to slide into the middle from the wing, “It is my instinct. It is where I am really comfortable but also in my head because I play only there in the past I want to come inside. The coach has some different things he wants me to do, I need to stay on the line and come inside sometimes to take the ball in behind a defender. I need to change my game a little bit, it’s not easy but I trust on my quality.”
Sporting KC’s introspective winger was pensive while speaking about his play and what he could do better but his mood lightened considerably when discussing the experience at Children’s Mercy Park.
“I am really impressed, there is nothing like this in Belgium. When you come out for the warmup and you see the stadium is almost full it is really different,” Croizet finally smiled. “The fans were incredible and when you come on the field and the (searching his knowledge of English to explain fireworks), pop, pop, pop, they do not have that in Belgium. Only for a final or something like that do they have this type. Now I know the fans are really amazing.”