Category Archives: New York City FC

New York City FC

NYCFC find their groove against the Galaxy, winning 2-0

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club continued to show its developing form in its unexpected win over LA Galaxy.  With a return of anchor defender James Sands from injury, the team looked calm and settled.  One slight change to the lineup was the swapping out of the injured Ebenezer Ofori, out with a core injury, for Tony Rocha in a center midfield role.  NYCFC faced a Galaxy who were without Jonathan Dos Santos, Rolf Feltscher, Romain Alessandrini and showed some struggle to gather attacking chances particularly without Dos Santos.

The Boys in Blue excelled in their passing accuracy in the attacking half and the final third and this kept them steady and in control of much of the game.  New York City did an excellent job of defending but the clear and obvious strategy by LA of always trying to serve the ball up to Zlatan Ibrahimovich made the Galaxy seem predictable and easier to defend.  Where LA did a good job of accurately crossing the ball, the NYC defenders knew how to position themselves in order to quickly destroy the play.  Alex Callens was particularly efficient at slowing down or destroying LA’s attempts to propel their attack.

New York’s first goal was scored by Héber on a rebound of an Anton Tinnerholm shot.  Héber has clearly settled into his #9 role, making a go of any loose balls in the box.  He has scored 3 goals and had 3 assists in the 7 games he’s played since he joined the team.  Not only does Heber do his job well, he looks like he’s enjoying himself the whole time.  

The second goal was scored on a play in LA’s box that was first called as an offside on City but ended up as a handball call on LA via VAR.  Incredulously, Maxi Moralez stepped up to take the penalty kick, leaving most fans screaming at their screens “No!  Anyone but Maxi!” as Moralez’s last two attempts at PKs this season were failures.  

Moralez ended up burying this ball in the back of the net.  For the record, Héber should take these PKs but perhaps out of respect and seniority he deferred to Moralez.

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NYCFC has successfully and repeatedly made good use of the wingback role, with particular ease when the roles are executed by Tinnerholm and Ronald Matarrita. The match did end on a strange note with a seemingly frustrated Ibrahimovich and NYCFC’s goalkeeper Sean Johnson in a tangle of alleged body bumps and hands to the neck resulting in both players being booked on yellow cards.

It’s still early in the season but NYCFC have now moved up to 4th place in the Eastern Conference behind Philadelphia, DC and Montréal with their next call to arms on 5/25 in another away match versus Chicago Fire.

All images:  NYCFC twitter

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James Sands is a honey badger*

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club managed to pull out 7 points in 7 days with glimmers of hope for even better play going forward.  To recap, NYCFC played 3 games in a 7 day stretch pulling out a road victory against DC United 2-0, a home victory 1-0 versus Chicago Fire and drawing with Orlando City SC 1-1 most recently.

Not surprisingly, the team’s best performance and the seemingly unlikely road win against a strong DC United, was a result of Coach Dome Torrent playing new Brazilian striker Héber, alongside Alexandru Mitrita and Maxi Moralez.  The threesome demonstrated some early signs of offensive chemistry.

Unfortunately, Mitrita suffered an ankle injury in that match resulting in him not playing against Chicago Fire and playing limited minutes off the bench versus Orlando SC.  The magical recipe for strong attack combines these three players with a dash of Taty Castellanos and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.

Héber of NYCFC
Héber of NYCFC warms up

The other big takeaway from the week:  James Sands is basically a human honey badger on the field and you know what they say about honey badgers?

Sands, the club’s first homegrown who began starting in a defensive role this season has been the bane of many a seasoned opposing player’s existence.  He’s been on NYCFC’s roster for the past three years with limited play time but he has been a constant defensive force this season.  

Has the team struggled to score goals this year?  Yes, but the team has only lost one match to date.

Over the past three games, Sands took Wayne Rooney out of most of DC United’s attacking chances in the mid field and almost completely neutralized CJ Sapong on Chicago Fire.  He gave Nani and Dom Dwyer of OCSC zero space to maneuver. Sands does not defer and even slightly back off very seasoned and sometimes legendary opponents and seems fully committed to sacrificing his body in the process of stopping a play when necessary.  

His ability to think ahead and predict the play seems way beyond his 18 years.  He deserves a lot of credit for his consistent, physical, intelligent and lack-of-drama style of play.

James Sands
James Sands

*Update:  Sands has not been in training due to a pulled abductor muscle which happened in the match against Orlando City.  So he will, most likely, miss the next match against Montréal Impact on Saturday.   So alas, he is an injured honey badger.  

NYCFC will make their first attempt to win a match without Sands.  I’m a bit nervous.

Featured and all images: Tisha Gale

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NYCFC Earns An Unexpected W In DC, 2-0

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

This week once again proved that anything is possible in MLS as Sporting Kansas City lost to San Jose and LAFC lost to Vancouver.  Continuing in this parallel universe of football, New York City Football Club bested the current top team in the Eastern Conference, DC United.  The win was in DC and with Wayne Rooney fully fit.  Many would never have predicted this outcome but it could be due to the learned helplessness taking over the collective NYC fan psyche. I mean the thinking was, If City can’t even win at home, how will they win on the road?

How did NYCFC pull off this modern day Easter miracle? Many signs point to the debut of City’s new number 9, Héber, who made his first start of the season.  Immediately there were signs of chemistry amongst him, new 2019 Designated Player Alexandru Mitrita and the team’s midfield backbone, Maxi Moralez.  In a post-match interview Héber compared the style of NYCFC and MLS in general as “tactical” football with more experienced players, while the Croatian league he previously played for was “faster” with younger players.  

I read into this as MLS being a more thoughtful and building style of play that stresses keeping possession while patiently moving players around to find the open space.  Furthermore, his experience playing with a faster pace means he’s accustomed to opponents being all over him so he can make quick and accurate attacking decisions with limited space.  This was fully demonstrated first in his assist to Alexandru Mitrita’s goal in the 35th minute and again in his own finish in the 56th.

It felt like NYCFC had the majority of the possession even though they only had 46%.  Maxi Moralez had the chance to make the game 2-0 before the end of the first half on an awarded penalty kick, but his strike hit the post.  It is doubtful that the tide of opinion will change any time soon on Coach Dome Torrent, but I do think that the decision to play Ronald Matarrita at left back was the right one as he generates offense out of the back with his pace, energy and overall chemistry with the midfield.  

Anton Tinnerholm and Matarrita both enjoy generating and building attacking sequences down the flanks via overlapping runs.  James Sands was again Mr Reliable throughout the game applying pressure and stopping most of DC United’s attempts at a counter attack.  It was a happy surprise that goalkeeper Sean Johnson had little to do in this match.  Although he did have one particularly nice save of a Rooney shot to keep the lead.

Ronald Matarrita
Ronald Matarrita goes wide – credit: K. Cahalin, NYCFC

A busy week continues with a must-win versus Chicago Fire on Wednesday and a tough test versus a surprisingly in-form Orlando City team on Saturday.  Rumors of injuries to several key players make this period even more challenging.

Featured image: @NYCFC on Twitter

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NYCFC keeps winless streak alive, tying Montreal 0-0

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

“A tough battle in the Bronx ends in a stalemate” is what I should write about this week’s NYCFC loss -strike that – TIE with Montreal Impact.  Yet this should not have been a tough game, particularly with the Impact missing the injured Ignacio Piatti.  This should have been a relatively easy home match for New York City. 

From where I sat, the game can be summed up as: “Taty Castellanos was trying hard in front of the goal but getting few balls, while Héber isn’t yet fully fit but was basically invisible when he was subbed in.  City should have made something of the 20 minutes when they were up a man and, without Maxi Moralez, the team is a rudderless ship.”

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NYCFC’s Valentin “Taty” Castellanos

It’s interesting how as New Yorkers, we expect the best:  in food, entertainment, lodging, museums, shopping. And yet, we seem to historically accept mediocrity from our local sports teams.  New York City Football Club is still winless in 2019 over 4 games with three of them at home.   The team is actually winless over the past 7 games if you go back to 2018 playoffs. The last win for New York was October 28, 2018, against the Philadelphia Union. Some fans are outspoken in their frustration and others are exhibiting signs of learned helplessness.

So for all of you sad, angry and exasperated NYCFC fans out there, here are some other historically awful winless streaks by New York metro area teams:

New York Knicks – 2018-2019 – 18 game losing streak

New York Nets – 2009-2010 – 18 losses in a row

New York Mets 1962 – 17 game losing streak

New York Islanders – 2010-2011 –  14 losses in a row

New York Giants 1976 – 9 game losing streak

Even our winningest New York team, the Yankees, lost 12 in a row in 1908.  And the New York Jets in 2014 (and 1975 & 1996) lost 8 in a row and still don’t have their own stadium!

Feel better now?  

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The still winless NYCFC squad

NYCFC next heads out to the brand-spanking-new Allianz stadium in St. Paul to face Minnesota United Football Club in their very first match in their new home.  Most fans have zero expectations except for a loss as the team just can’t seem to win on the road.  However, MNUFC was once also a team new to the league playing pretty terribly as recently as last year, also in someone else’s stadium and look at them now.  It’s early in the season, but Minnesota is currently in a playoff contention spot, has one of the league’s most attractive stadiums with interactive lights and a deeply devoted fan base.

If New York City FC could get one of these things, it would be a step in the right direction.

All images by Tisha Gale // @tishagale15 on Instagram

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Un despelote: TFC destroys NYCFC 4-0

 

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club faced Toronto Football Club on Friday night and it may have been the team’s worst showing in its history (that did not involve conceding seven goals to our largest rivals). 

For most of the game, it appeared Toronto had 16 players on the pitch and that New York City left their technical abilities elsewhere. Absent of an injured Maxi Moralez, the team was a rudderless ship and spent the bulk of the game chasing Toronto.   

The only positive to the game was the beautiful soccer played by Toronto.  At some point in the match, perhaps when it was 3-0 TFC, I subconsciously stopped paying attention to the atrocious soccer being played by New York and began admiring the seemingly immediate chemistry between Toronto’s new Designated Player Alejandro Pozuelo and his new team, particularly with Jozy Altidore.  It looked like they’d been playing together for years.  Less subconsciously I began feeling jealousy.  “Why can’t NYCFC get a DP like that?  Not fair!”

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Jozy Altidore and Alejandro Pozuelo of Toronto FC.  Image:  Torontofc.com

What does this mean for the team?

Many fans I spoke to during and after the game were so disheartened that they turned the game off.  One fan said, “There is nobody on this team to get excited about.”  Maybe new Brazilian striker Héber Araujo dos Santos, known solely as “Héber”, will bring the necessary spark to reignite this team? 

Héber arrived in New York on Saturday and is anticipated to play in next week’s home game versus another team who just got shellacked:  Montreal Impact.  If NYCFC does not beat Montreal, I’m anticipating that the club will part ways with Head Coach Dome Torrent.  

With no wins and no stadium, fans will be furious – and rightly so.  Perhaps the scheduling gods that didn’t grant us a single home game in May have blessed us with the perfect opponent this coming Saturday with struggling Montreal.  

It will take something special to bring back some faith in this team. I think we are all looking for an impact player to step up versus the Impact and start turning this season around.

Featured image: @NYCFC

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A Mixed Bag: NYCFC draws LAFC 2-2

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club hosted Los Angeles Football Club for a St Patrick’s day party in the Bronx on Sunday.  This year with no resident “Saint Patrick” Vieira to sprinkle the team with luck, City ended up adding another game to its winless streak.  The match had some highs and lows, with most intensity, pace, accuracy and attacking precision shown in the first half, but frustratingly, it did end as another draw.  

NYCFC built some tight sequences in the midfield which created multiple opportunities. City maintained nearly 70% of the first half possession but the defensive mistakes cost them big.  

New Designated Player Alexandru Mitrita scored his first goal of the season at 39′, but four minutes later LAFC’s Latif Blessing easily jumped on an NYC mistake and fed a perfect pass to Vela, who buried the ball into the goal.  NY once again took the lead in the second half when Ben Sweat found Alex Ring in front of the goal at 62′ and set him up for a hammer of a volley.  Both of New York’s goals being scored from the left side of the goal.  

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NYCFC’s Alexandru Mitrita maneuvers around LAFC’s Walker Zimmerman and Latif Blessing.

Exciting for many fans was that Ronald Matarrita started the game at left back.  Matarrita’s energy, pace and attacking mindset was definitely a welcome addition to the team chemistry.  There was much more pep in the step of the team from the get-go of the game.  The energy in the stadium, particularly between the dueling supporter groups seemed to have been fueling City’s players.  

Fortunately for NYCFC, LAFC was not playing with their full squad as Lee Nguyen, Alejandro Guido, Steven Betashour, Phillip Ejimadu and Rodolfo Zelaya were on the injured list. 

Latif Blessing, who is known as the ultimate super sub who can play vitally any position and generally revitalizes the team when he comes off the bench, started and played the full game.  It was Blessing who found Vela to kick off LA’s first fruitful counterattack to tie up the game in the first half.  It was Blessing who was fouled by Sweat in the box to earn LA a game-tying PK.   So although Sweat did assist Ring in NY’s second goal, he was a mixed blessing.  

In honor of our respective cities and their awards show history,  I’m handing out awards:

For playing cool, calm and collected, and yet not cocky, I bestow my first official Triple C award to James Sands.  The teenager once again showed depth, maturity and grit. 

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NYCFC’s Anton Tinnerholm chases LAFC’s Carlos Vela

Because he’s just that good and gives off the vibe that he’s having a blast on the pitch, the honorary Marcelo award goes to Carlos Vela

Best visiting supporters group energy, enthusiasm and etiquette goes to LAFC’s 3252 who not only were the loudest we’ve ever had, particularly from across the continent but they also followed up with a thank you post on NYCFC’s reddit account for the great time.  See, there’s the silver lining to a draw.  Nobody’s angry.  

The Sleek Award goes to the LAFC’s silver and white kit. What a perfectly appropriate away kit that is flattering, simple and makes good use of metallics.

NYCFC’s next match is Friday 3/29 in Toronto.

To date, NYCFC is 0-0-3.

Featured and all images: @NYCFC

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Dueling goalkeepers keep NYCFC and DC United to 0-0 draw

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club opened its 2019 season at home against DC United on Sunday March 10th. What the match lacked in scoring, it made up for in goalkeeping theatrics. Both NYCFC’s keeper, Sean Johnson, and DC United’s, Bill Hamid, kept the game a nail biter with their superb performances.

DC United’s high and heavy press gave NYCFC’s back line a hard time from literally the first minute of play. Once NYC adjusted to the pressure, the midfield and wings started to put together attacking sequences.  The underlying theme of the offense was “Find Alexandru Mitrita” with one NYC counter attack sending “Mitri” into three DC defenders and almost beating them, before DC’s Wayne Rooney and his elbow destroyed the play.

For this match, Coach Dome Torrent tried a different formation with Taty Castellanos in a striker role and Maxi Moralez back to more of a 10 role.  Once again, James Sands started in central midfield alongside Captain Alex Ring. This season, Ring seems to be playing a lot more offensively and has been given free reign to shoot both inside and outside the box.  On Sunday he had two strong shots with one diving header denied by an incredible save by Hamid.  These are shots that would not have been taken in years past.

Johnson was credited with 3 saves on DC United’s on-target shots.  Officially, they had 7 total shots.  Hamid made 6 saves while City totaled 21 shots, with most of them off target. Most of the on-target shots were incredible efforts by both the attacker and the keeper.  If only there was a way to put a little gold star next to the particularly impressive saves by the keeper.

My takeways:

Taty Castellanos gave a strong performance.  He had multiple shots on target (most of them headers) was where he was supposed to be in attacking sequences and generally appeared to work in rhythm with Mitrita.  Does anyone remember the first two seasons when a ball would cross in front of the opponent’s goal and nobody was there to meet it?  That doesn’t happen with Taty.  If given time to germinate, the chemistry between Castellanos, Mitrita and Maxi can only improve.

James Sands played well and helped lead NYCFC’s efforts to control the middle third of the field.  He seemed to be everywhere adding pressure and then accurately redistributing to kick off our offense. Part of the reason Ring is free to push forward and attack is because Sands is handling the defensive role so reliably.

DC United's Wayne Rooney and NYCFC's James Sands
DC United’s Rooney, NYCFC’s Sands

The combination of Ring and Mitri could become very deadly.  Ring finds Mitri with long penetrating passes and Mitri seems equally comfortable taking shots from  outside the box and maneuvering around multiple defenders into the box.  Pair this with Ring’s willingness and ability to shoot from a distance, and opposing defenders will have a hard time dealing with City’s unpredictability.   

What’s going on with Ismael Tajouri-Shradi?  Last season he stepped up big as the second highest goal scorer on the team during a period when we were without the injured David Villa. I was happy to see him come in as a sub for Jesus Medina after not playing at all in Orlando, but he seemed to have lost his spark for firing off shots on goal.  Is he trying to settle into some new role?  I liked his old one.  You know, scoring goals.

NYCFC is back in the Bronx on Sunday, March 17th against LAFC.

Featured image: @NYCFC

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A little magic keeps NYCFC to a 2-2 tie in Orlando

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Saturday, New York City Football Club kicked off its 2019 season facing off in Orlando against Orlando City Soccer Club.   Since NYCFC has no true striker on its roster, fans were wondering what kind of lineup and strategy would be employed.

The back line was as expected with Anton Tinnerholm, Maxime Chanot and Alexander Callens with Ben Sweat filling out the four-man back line on the left side instead of an injured Ronald Matarrita.  In midfield were Ring, Sands, Ofori. Fan favorite Lewis with Maxi Moralez, and new Designated Player Alexandru Mitrita (“Mitri”) served as forwards.

It didn’t look like a true 4-4-2 however.  In expected Coach Dome Torrent fashion, the formation seemed less than standard and more like a 4-1-3-1-1 much of the time.

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Orlando City jumped into the game with speed and aggression taking charge of most of the possession and offense for a good portion of the first half.  NYCFC seemed much more defensive and less eager than in past seasons, to maintain possession.

The most dangerous player on the field for most of the game was OCSC’s Christopher Mueller, who along with Johnson dominated both offensively and defensively.  GK Sean Johnson made one impressive save but strangely it appeared that Sacha Klejsten, who historically gave NYCFC trouble, seemed a bit rusty and wasn’t taking shots.  It could also be that the back line was adequately prepared for his predicted style of play and took away his chances.

In a moment of “Wait, what just happened?” Midfielder Ebenezer Ofori, at the 13th minute, took NYCFC’s first shot on goal in the 2019 season and put it into the back of the net.  At the 45th minute, the lead was solidified by a banger by Alex Ring assisted by Mitri.  Despite the relative lack of possession in the first half, New York City closed out the 45 with a 2-0 lead.

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Sadly, the lead was blown in the second half by Orlando City goals scored by Mueller and Tesho Akindele.  The first Orlando goal appeared that to be savable and Johnson may have judged the ball’s path incorrectly.   The second goal was executed pretty quickly after Orlando substitutes Nani and Dom Dwyer came onto the field.

The controversial piece of the game was a handball by Chanot on a shot that was ruled by VAR not to have been a handball. To all viewers who saw the replay in slow motion, it was clearly a handball but VAR is viewed by one camera angle and in real time.  NYCFC dodged a bullet on that call and were able to finish the game level at 2-2.

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Of note, were inclusions of James Sands and Jonathan Lewis in the starting XI.  Sands played well in his first start but Lewis’ work was below expectations, considering his recent success with the US Men’s National Team. He seems to be doing a better job of getting back to provide pressure in our defensive third of the field but was generally unsuccessful in adding his usual offensive spark.

I did like what I saw in Mitri’s style of play after the first twenty minutes when he was settling in.  He’s quick, sees space very well and dishes out precise passes.  He also placed his corner kicks almost perfectly.  Dome said that he is not yet fully fit so I am looking forward to seeing the damage he can do to opponents when 100% in game form.  My takeaway is that Orlando City was the better team and deserved the win so we were lucky to get away with a point.

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Next match is the home opener against D.C. United on Sunday, March 10th. D.C. just picked up a home win off reigning MLS Champion Atlanta United. D.C. looks strong and will be a formidable opponent for NYCFC.

Will NYCFC return to its strategic standard of maintaining possession and play a more attacking lineup with players like Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Ronald Matarrita, or will we see an overall change in team tactics to defense and counter-attacking?

All images:  NYCFC

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Keaton Parks’ Unconventional Path to MLS

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

In a few days, the MLS season will kick off with New York City Football Club facing Orlando City FC on March 2nd.  A handful of new faces were brought onto the NYC roster, with quite a few being US nationals.  After our very international 2018 squad, NYCFC seems to be going in a different direction with the signings of teenaged homegrowns, Joe Scally and Justin Haak as well as acquiring 21-year-old American Keaton Parks on a loan from Portuguese top tier club SL Benfica.

Parks is an interesting acquisition as his career is an almost complete foil to those of Haak, Scally and James Sands.  Haak, Scally, and Sands all worked their way from the club system to spots in the NYCFC developmental academy.  Sands was signed by NYCFC in 2017. In an interesting aside: Sands has a twin brother Will who has committed to play for Georgetown University.  Perhaps we can check back in with both of them in say, ten years to see how their careers compare.

Parks grew up in Texas where he did not enter the DA but continued to play for Coach Armando Pelaez at various local club teams as well as for his high school. Developmental academies do not allow their players to suit up for their high school teams.  It looked like Parks would be playing next for Southern Methodist University but instead was recruited by Varzim, a LigaPro (secondary division) team out of Portugal for his first foray into professional soccer.

Those who have watched his progression, point out his high level of technicality with the ball at his feet which seems unusual for his 6’3” frame.  Parks was physically a late bloomer who learned to dominate in his early years via tight ball touches usually in the 10 role before eventually sprouting up in his junior year of high school to his current height.  This style is still at the root of his play but his post-growth-spurt size made him a better fit for a defensive midfielder position. A viewing of his highlights from Benfica B, show him physically strong, difficult to take down and a proclivity to feeding long attacking balls to the front line. It will be interesting to see how Parks’ style will fit in with New York’s other midfielders like Alexander Ring, Ebenezer Ofori, James Sands and Maxi Moralez. I’m looking forward to seeing more of these long feeder balls mixed in with City’s trademark tight touches/high possession with hopefully this new ingredient leading to more scoring.

With his unconventional rise to professional soccer, I can’t help but think of another former NYCFC player who found his way to the pros via the road less traveled:  Jack Harrison.  As many fans are aware, Harrison left the prestigious academy system in the UK for the US college route, playing for Wake Forest before quickly getting scooped up as the number one draft pick in the MLS super draft in 2016.  Harrison is currently on loan by Manchester City Football Club to English championship level club Leeds United, who are currently in contention for promotion to the premiership.

Jack Harrison, Leeds United
Jack Harrison. Photo- Leeds United Football Club

For both Harrison and Parks, their careers took them abroad early before returning to their home countries. Parks is on a loan from Benfica so if he wants to stay at NYCFC beyond the season, he’ll need to make an impression pretty quickly, which may be challenging in the crowded field of rostered midfielders.  It all begins on Saturday.

Featured Image: NYCFC

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Is NYCFC withering on CFG’s vine?

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

With the distractions of the holiday season behind us and the gloom of winter in full force, MLS soccer fans everywhere are patiently awaiting the start of the new season.

For New York City Football Club fans, things are looking a bit bleaker than usual as the club continues to ignore some of their biggest concerns.  Fan sentiment is currently at a low with team supporters feeling abandoned by owners City Football Group.  It’s bad enough to have the one elephant in the room:  Um, are we just never going to have a stadium? 

But with the second one being now zero prospects for an exciting Designated Player replacement for David Villa, there is a general feeling that NYCFC is being left to wither on the vine.  The New York front office’s last connection with fans seems to have exited with outgoing president Jon Patricof. 

As frustrating as it was in year’s past to understand the front office’s decisions, Patricof was extremely accessible to fans and their concerns.  Clearly bound by CFG’s confidentiality policy, he couldn’t give many answers but was more than happy to talk to season ticket holders and fans.  Patricof understood and cared about the connections that each of us makes with the team and to each other through the club.

Now that Brad Sims is at the helm it is clear that, at least on paper, the focus of the front office is to stop the season ticket holder bleeding and attempt to bring in new fans.  I’m at a loss for how Sims will do this when the top three things that fans want are currently beyond our reach:

1- A stadium in New York City

2- An exciting new player who will help score goals 

3- To win a trophy of some kind

CFG clearly does not know the New York real estate, political nor sports markets.   New Yorkers will only accept mediocrity on our own terms.  Don’t come from out of town and hand us a ‘meh’ bagel and expect us to eat it more than once.  

We exist in a sports market with many options locally and live in an era when we can stream almost any sports game in the world, at any time on our phones.  If CFG and MLS want to grow their profits and the sport in the US in the process, (which will feed the cycle of profitability), they will have to work harder to make NYCFC fans more excited. 

The digital media team under the direction of Mark Booth has done an excellent job at giving us fun and timely content while maintaining accessibility.  The club should be using this offseason to hold multiple STH roundtables and brainstorming sessions with Brad Sims or his senior management staff. Connect directly with all different types of fans and hear them out. Fans need more of this, particularly during this morose period when many are feeling hopeless. 

Soccer fans in the US, for the most part, are a piece of a larger group of Americans who are feeling generally hopeless and exhausted by the national discourse.  We look to soccer as our inspiration, escape and a way to connect with others.  If you want to keep NYCFC fans engaged in our own team and league, the front office needs to step it up in a big way.  

Featured image: @TishaGale

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