Tag Archives: Tisha Gale

“For Honor. For Glory. For the City.” A photo essay recap of my 2018 Season as an NYCFC fan.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

The 2018 season has officially ended for our boys in blue, and though we are all sad and somewhat disappointed that the season has ended, I think we have a lot to look back on and a bright future ahead. Please journey with me as I highlight some of my favorite moments of the 2018 season.

Best of 2018

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For me, the season begins on a cold, rainy day in February. The anticipation of NYCFC’s first home game has been building; I’m bursting at the seams, literally. The new kit has arrived in style, from the Adidas HQ in Germany to the Etihad HQ in Abu Dhabi, and finally to NYCFC’s home in the Bronx, NY.

The jersey has traveled a long way to get to the players who will put their blood, sweat, and tears into every fiber, and the fans who will proudly rock it every chance they get. We’re not all sure how we feel about the new design. Some fans argue that it’s a carbon copy of a couple of popular international kits, but one thing is for sure, we all want it!

However, amid the buzzing chatter comes a different conversation—a murmur that quickly gets my attention. Why are there no women supporters in the “Kit Release Video?” 

This simple, yet important question leads to the creation of the “We Are NYCFC: Women Supporter’s Photo Project.” The project highlights the women behind the crest; the women who help make up the heart and soul of NYCFC’s fan base. A group of 20 women, many of them strangers, meets with me at Grand Central Terminal. The main topic of conversation, representation matters. The video and corresponding images are shared on multiple social media platforms with the hashtag #WeAreNYCFC.

February 24, my phone chimes. It’s an Instagram notification from Jon Patricof, President of NYCFC: “Thought your project was terrific and important…hope to connect soon.” A few days later, I get a call from Sam Cooke. He’d like to discuss the project.

March, 9. NYCFC host its first ever 24 Hour Game at Rockefeller Center. I proudly represent Team Vieira. #SoccerNeverSleeps

soccer never sleeps

March 15, Keira Smith (Official Reporter for NYCFC at MLSFemale) and I meet with Patricof at NYCFC HQ, it’s my first trip to the 30th floor of 600 Third Ave. I feel like I’ve been called to the principal’s office. However, the meeting is everything but intimidating. We discuss the project and my motivations. Patricof thanks us for the constructive criticism and apologizes for the lack of proper women supporter representation in the video.

NYCFC’s season officially starts on March 4, with an on-the-road win versus Sporting Kansas City. The boys in blue go on to win four of their first five games. The season is off to a great start. Regular trips to Yankee Stadium means my seasonal depression has faded away like the mosaic of colors after a fireworks show.

NYCFC supporter, Deyanira Perez, enjoying a game at Yankee Stadium on March 17

March 31, Keira Smith publishes an article about the We Are NYCFC project and me on MLSFemale.com

#WeAreNYCFC. I’ve Got All My Sisters With Me 

April 29, my photo press credentials application is approved and I shoot my first game from the endlines. David Villa bags his 400th and 401st career goals. NYCFC defeats F.C. Dallas 3-1.

May 16, MLSFemale brings me on board as their official photographer covering NYCFC.

Image: Juan Carlos Rubiano

May 19, NYCFC celebrates David Villa Day on a rainy day in the Bronx with a 4-0 win over the Colorado Rapids. Villa Scores in the 22′ and 74′ min of play. Other goals scored by R. Matarrita 49′ and M. Moralez 56′.

June 13, Keira and I encourage fans to vote Sean Johnson onto the MLS All-Star team. Our blurb is published on nycfc.com.

All-Star: Vote for Sean Johnson

July 5, NYCFC hosts a Q&A with new head coach, Domenec Torrent.

June 30-July 15, NYCFC partners with Telemundo. Together they host a World Cup viewing party at Rockefeller Center.

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August 1, my photo press credentials are approved and I attend the MLS All-Star game in Atlanta. Read all about my experience here.

MLS Digital HQ. L-R: Lalo Ortega, me, Alexis Guerreros, Robyn Saghini, Christian Polanco Jess Houwen, and Eve Powell.

August 21, September 4 & 21 respectively, my #NYCFCInk mini-series is published on MLSFemale.com

#NYCFCInk Featuring Lalo Ortega

Lalo Ortega, Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale

#NYCFCInk Featuring Colin Harte

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale

#NYCFCInk Featuring Jay Jimenez

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale

September 24, I attend my first away game in Canada.

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October 11, Nat Bekeo gives me a tour of NYCFC’s training facility in Orangeburg, NY.

Every second counts🤙🏾 💙 #nycfc

October 15, NYCFC opens 10 new mini pitches across the five boroughs. I’m hired to cover all the action on Staten Island at IS72.

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October 23, NYCFC host its first ever Awards Night. I present the first award to James Sands, who won Academy Moment of the Year. 

Kwame Ibeagha

October 31, NYCFC advances to the MLS Cup Semifinals after a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union.

November 4, our last game at Yankee Stadium, until next year.

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My 2018 season as an NYCFC fan was absolutely amazing! I’d like to thank MLSFemale, NYCFC players and FO staff, and all my friends who supported me on this incredible journey. You are all so deeply appreciated.

Of note: I picked up my first DSLR camera on December 15, 2017. Photography has always been something I wanted to explore, and I’m so glad I finally took the plunge. I could not have asked for a better way to harness my skills.

All images, unless specified: @TishaGale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

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#NYCFCInk: These colors don’t run – featuring Jay Jimenez

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

Each tattoo exemplifies an artistic narrative so powerful it is capable of shaping a person’s identity. The temporary pain and permanent markings show the wearers commitment to a specific interest. Tattoos are the only accessories a person always has with them. They are a symbol of our attachment to our inner selves, but they also provide a shared connection to the people and things around us.

The story behind a tattoo can sometimes serve as a great unifier among various groups of people. The ink and the meaning they hold can also be great icebreakers and conversation starters.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Jay at Yankee Stadium. Image: @TishaGale

For Jay Jimenez, tattoos represent a connection to family. His most recent tattoo, the New York City FC monogram, which he had done the same day as the UEFA Champions League final in May of this year, signifies his connection to his NYCFC family.

“I wanted another tattoo and I felt really connected to NYCFC, but mostly the bond with the other fans.” –Jay Jimenez (@dotdawriter)

His only other tattoo features five rectangles in a row, which symbolizes the bond he shares with his four siblings.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Tattoo up close. Image: @TishaGale

Jay sits in section 235 at Yankee Stadium with his NYC 12 family and fellow supporters. He has been a supporter since the club’s formation.

His favorite NYCFC memory comes compliments of the club’s home game against Chicago on July 22, 2017.  On this particular game day, it seemed like everything was going against City. Things started going downhill in the 12th min of play when Yangel Herrera picked up a red card. Chicago then proceeded to hold 66% ball possession throughout the match.

It was a tough game, “but somewhere in the supporter’s section, ‘Come on New York’ started and I swear the entire stadium was singing it. It gave me chills. It felt like we willed the team to win. I’ve never felt so close to something in my life.” –Jay Jimenez (@dotdawriter)

With the true New York grit that we’ve all come to love and admire, and a stadium of supporters bellowing out the battle cry, City managed to pull off a 2-1 win over the Fire.

Jay’s second fondest memory is meeting Jack Harrison’s mom for the second time. His first encounter with Debbie Harrison was at the MLS SuperDraft in 2016, when NYCFC acquired the first overall pick, Jack Harrison, via a trade with the Chicago Fire. Meeting the mother of your favorite team’s new signee is cool, but running into her a few months after at Yankee Stadium, and realizing that she genuinely remembered your first meeting is something extra special. The Harrison’s are undeniably missed in New York.

New York City FC faces off against Chicago again in their next home match on Wednesday, September 26nd, at 7pm.

Aside from cheering on his favorite team, Jay enjoys playing FIFA—although he admits, “I’ve recently been humbled by a friend so I’ve taken a break.”

When Jay’s not focused on all things soccer related, he works as a hotel manager.

Featured image of Jay and friends: Juan Carlos Rubiano @OhCitySaidI

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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A Message to the NYCFC Players

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

With the tough MLS scheduling, a slew of injuries and now international call-ups, we know that our pineapple isn’t looking very pretty. However, greatness is written on the backbone of those who can rise above adversity.

Tomorrow, we want you all to go out and play with tenacity, the same kind of grit you showed us against the New York Red Bulls on August 22nd. We—the fans—need to see the same indomitable spirit you so proudly displayed on that Wednesday night in the Bronx. It is in these moments when our true colors are revealed. Like Terry Bradshaw once said, “When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.”

Tomorrow—our game against the reinvigorated D.C. United—is our challenge. We must remind ourselves of who we are and what we’re capable of achieving. We must show the opposing teams that they still have a lot to fear going into the playoffs. This is New York’s team and New Yorkers never back down from a challenge.

Tomorrow, the fans will be there in full force. The drummers will drum as if they’ve never drummed before. The capos will bellow out chants that will echo throughout Yankee Stadium. We will bring the noise, all we ask is that you bring the grit, and let us have ourselves a good ole New York style party in the Bronx.

Blood, sweat, and tears—leave it all on the field!

#ForTheCity

Featured image: @TishaGale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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#NYCFCInk: These colors don’t run – featuring Colin Harte

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
NYCFC Official Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

The tradition of permanently decorating one’s body, whether through simple or elaborate designs, can be traced back through the history of human existence. For the longest while, it was believed that tattooing originated with the Egyptians around 2000 B.C. However, a more recent discovery has proven the invalidity of this belief. Through carbon dating of a corpse with distinctive markings, which was accidentally found in 1991 by two hikers, the current consensus is that human tattooing can be dated back as far as 5,200 years ago (Lineberry, 2007).

Tattooing is an art form that has lived on through time for several millenniums. Today, people from all different walks of life continue to permanently adorn their bodies with unique markings and designs, which are meant to express their personal preferences and individual interests.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale
Image of Colin Harte: @TishaGale

For Colin Harte, tattoos are important because of the stories they tell and the memories they hold. His first tattoo, a clover with the New York Giants symbol in the middle, holds a special place in his heart—“it is a family thing.” (@colinmouth) His family has had season tickets for the Giants since the ‘30s when his grandfather worked for the team. If there is one thing Colin’s family knows how to do, it’s proudly support their favorite teams.

Along with the Giants, Colin’s other teams are the Tottenham Hotspur and New York City F.C (NYCFC), the latter of which he is a founding member.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale
Image: @TishaGale

Colin’s left arm boasts a beautiful display of a few of his favorite things. A colorful guitar accentuates a combination piece featuring the aforementioned soccer teams, which he had done in November of 2016. Together, these tattoos make up the beginnings of a beautiful sleeve.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale
Image of Colin’s arms: @TishaGale

“I have been a fan [of NYCFC] since the moment I heard that the club would exist. My girlfriend and I, as well as another great friend of mine, have tickets in section 233A at Yankee Stadium and we are normally the loudest and most delightfully obnoxious supporters there. We can’t help but be passionate for better or worse.” – Colin Harte 

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale
Colin with girlfriend, Stefanie and friend, Sean at an NYCFC game. Image: @colinmouth

When asked what his fondest NYCFC memory is, Colin couldn’t just choose one.

“First has to be the Thursday night match in the first season where the legend of Poku really took off. Poku sealed the win that night against D.C United with a goal in the 88’ min after already bagging an assist to Tommy Mac.”

Colin’s second fondest memory, “Travelling with the away supporters to Philly last year and witnessing King Villa’s 50-yard bomb into the back of the goal.”

On our stroll through Central Park, Colin beamed with pride as he talked about his favorite teams and what it means to be a supporter. His hope is to instill the same loyalty towards a sports team that his family instilled in him. As his grandfather did with the Giants, Colin’s goal is to pass on his NYCFC season tickets to future generations of Hartes. Traditions are clearly very important to Colin. His tattoos serve as a reminder of those values of loyalty and tradition that are so greatly treasured.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC Ink/mlsfemale
“And my heart stays in the lead”. Image: @TishaGale

When Colin isn’t obsessing over his favorite sports teams, he spends his time playing the bass guitar in four different bands.

Reference:

NYCFC x Skull sticker designed by Stefanie Suppa @stefsuppa

Lineberry, C. (2007, January 1). Tattoos. The Ancient and Mysterious History. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/tattoos-144038580/ 

Featured image: @TishaGale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

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#NYCFCInk: These colors don’t run – featuring Eduardo “Lalo” Ortega

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

For centuries, the practice of tattooing has been prevalent within many different societies. In some cultures, tattooing was a ritualistic rite of passage and in other cultures, it was purely about tradition. Today, tattooing has become more about self-expression. It is an art form that has had to overcome the stigma of being considered taboo.

Tattoos come in a plethora of designs and their significance and meanings are uniquely subjective.  For Eduardo “Lalo” Ortega, tattoos are about love and passion. Lalo is an immigrant from Mexico who moved to New York when he was just a baby. For him, getting a tattoo was a chance to combine his love for New York with his passionate support for his favorite MLS team, New York City FC.

“I got my tattoo right before the start of NYCFC’s second season. New York is the greatest city in the world and I wanted to do something more creative than the club logo. I wanted to celebrate both the city and the club.” -Eduardo “Lalo” Ortega (@E_Ortega18 on Twitter)

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Yankee Stadium. Image: @TishaGale

Lalo has been a New York City FC fan since the very beginning. You can always find him at Yankee Stadium in section 237, or on the road with fellow travelling supporters. He is the current president of the Westchester Chapter of The Third Rail Supporters Group. (@ThirdRailSC on Twitter) When he’s not taking part in NYCFC related activities, he spends his time in the kitchen as a chef.

When asked what his fondest NYCFC memory is, Lalo paused for a pensive moment before he responded.

“Honestly, I can’t just pick one. It has been one crazy ride since year one. The people I’ve met and become friends with have been one of the greatest parts of it.”

With the New York Derby around the corner, Lalo is here to remind us all that his tattoo—like his love for New York City FC, is everlasting. He proudly pumps his fist in the air and flexes his arm to show off the tattoo etched on his inner biceps.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Lalo. Image: @TishaGale

Featured image of Lalo: @TishaGale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

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NYCFC goes down 0-2 to Philadelphia Union

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

It was a day of magical thinking. After a week of constant pouring rain in New York and days of player exit news and rumors, it was supposed to be a big day for New York City Football Club to get an important road win. City had an almost completely healthy team going in against Philadelphia Union and we had a ridiculously large and loud group of traveling supporters there to chant the team to victory.

At the same time, Twitterverse was awash with unsubstantiated but not shocking rumors of David Villa’s contract not being renewed for 2019 as well as Jesus Medina being pursued by OGC Nice and former manager Patrick Vieira for 6.5 million euros. This was on top of recent club announcements of the loan of our first homegrown players James Sands to Louisville City FC, the loan of defender Saad Abdul-Salaam to Phoenix Rising and the upcoming exit of Gio Reyna to Borussia Dortmund.

It was time to exhale, right? We had virtually our whole squad available to face the Union. Praise be, goalkeeper Sean Johnson was back from a shoulder injury. We were going to win the MLS Cup and it has to be this year with our first player, David Villa.

And yet we remained holding our breath after a tight first half with plenty of opportunities for both teams with a halftime score of 0-0. We could definitely let out a nice cleansing breath after the second half. That’s when we always see adjustments and get the mojo going.

Alas, the second half was a nightmare of bad passes, amateurish turnovers, sluggish defending and unimaginative offensive runs. It felt like a night of insomnia where your brain keeps churning out repeated cycles of irrational thoughts that make complete sense at 2 am but with reflection the next morning leaves you scratching your head and wondering why you didn’t get up and read a book to change the thought pattern.

In the blink of an eye, we were down by two goals, Jesus Medina and Alex Callens were out with injuries and Ronald Matarrita gets thrown out on a red card.

An injured Jesus Medina gets tended to. Image: Tisha Gale/mlsfemale

I know that I need to do some deep breathing, listen to a “sleep story” or two on my phone’s Calm app and just let everything go. Coming home from a vacation in one of the most relaxed places on earth to collecting your bags in JFK is a shock to the senses. New York City is an incredible place with literally a hundred languages spoken, countless world class restaurants, some of the hardest working people living in a completely horrible climate for most of the year. We truly live in a 24-hour city.

Maybe because of this, New Yorkers at times can have short fuses, are impatient and have ridiculously high standards, particularly with regards to our sports teams. NYCFC players must feel that constantly from both fans and the club’s owners.

I finally let the air out slowly and feel better calling the game a hot mess and allowing the team the courtesy of their humanness. I have reason to believe that they will learn more from this failure than we, as fans, can pretend to know.

And we will need all that wisdom, NYC grit, perseverance, energy and high standards if we are to defeat the NY Red Bulls at home on Wednesday.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

Images by Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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All-Stars and MLS: From the sidelines

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

By Tisha Gale // @TishaGale

The MLS All-Star Game is the third biggest, yet most controversial event in Major League Soccer’s arsenal of annual festivities.  In the grand scheme of things, a midseason friendly, no matter the opponent, has very little to no clout and offers more risks than reward. However, this is America, and an All-Star exhibition game is about as American as you can get.

#tishajuvdossantos
Juventus player, Alex Sandro toe-pokes the ball away from MLS All-Star, Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy). Image: Tisha Gale

This year, the midseason clash between the MLS All-Stars and the Italian bigwigs, Juventus, led us to a showdown in rainy Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday, August 1, 2018. In the weeks leading up to the match, the topic on everyone’s minds was the overall significance of the All-Star Game. I asked a few friends and colleagues to weigh-in with their opinions of the All-Star Game and here’s what they had to say:

“I’m of two minds when it comes to the MLS All-Star Game. On one hand, pitting our best players against a well-known European powerhouse draws more fans to our league, and ideally shows that we’re progressing in ability and quality with how we acquit ourselves in the friendly. The continued growth in fandom and support make MLS more viable as a major sport with key younger demographic groups. If you’re a fan of the league, you really have to appreciate that.”

“On the other hand, it’s a meaningless friendly in the middle of the season, where the players selected have little time to prepare and gel as a squad, making the possibility of a cohesive, well-drilled game plan difficult to realize and execute. There’s very little upside for selected players and greater risk of injury, especially when the game is played on turf. The game is held midweek during a brutal part of the schedule which doesn’t incentivize participation (so much so that a rule was created to punish those who skip it, even due to injury).”

“If I had a vote, I’d push for . . . a return to East vs. West [format] and make the outcome meaningful (e.g. home field advantage in MLS Cup Finals, or decide which leg to host in MLS Cup playoffs).”  Dave K. (@kilsey on Twitter)

Tisha Gale - MLS All-Star/mlsfemale
MLS All-Star captain, Carlos Vela, wins a 50/50 battle with Juventus star, Emre Can. Image: Tisha Gale

The last time Major League Soccer hosted an East vs West All-Star showdown was at the 2004 game in which the East defeated the West in a 3-2 match at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. In fact, there have been six “East vs West” All-Star games to date, with the East holding an impressive 4-1-1 record. As a proud supporter of one of the best teams in the East, New York City FC, I would be happy to see the return of East vs West format.

My MLSFemale colleague, Keira, echoed Dave’s opinions. However, her biggest complaint has not to do with the game itself, but with one of the rules surrounding it.

“A change must happen to the rules regarding missing the All-Star Game (ASG) for a documented injury. If you miss at least two games prior to the ASG due to injury, you should not be suspended from the next regular season game due to missing the ASG. It’s a punishment to players and their teams. The ASG should be a celebration of excellence in MLS, not a burden.” –Keira M.S. (@keiramunsmith on Twitter)

This ASG rule sparked some outrage in New York when it was announced that David Villa would have to miss the NYCYC’s regular season match versus Vancouver Whitecaps because he had to bow out of the All-Star game. Villa was coming off a six-game injury spell.

There is clearly a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the way the ASG is executed. While some people think a little restructuring would do the trick, others believe that a completely new blueprint might be the best option.

“I mean, All-Star games really are an American thing overall. The idea of this one kinda comes from MLB’s mid-summer classic . . . Personally, I think trying to Americanize soccer hurts it here; from scheduling to roster limits . . . What they should do is create an American Super Cup that pits the MLS Cup winners and the Open Cup winners together to start the season. Like the rest of the world does with their league winners and domestic Cup winners.” –Jeff W. (@J_Weisinger on Twitter)

For the players selected to represent MLS, the All-Star Game is the ultimate pick-up game. It is a chance for them to get together with their friends across the league, to set rivalries aside and enjoy a night of the beautiful game.

When Dudes in Blue co-host, Anthony Scarcello, asked Alex Ring what it was like to attend his first All-Star game, the New York City FC midfielder stated, “I think it was a nice couple of days seeing the guys from the other teams in the league. Playing a little bit, having some fun.” All in all, the game provides “a good opportunity to enjoy yourself a little midweek.”

#tishaalexring
Alex Ring, the only player to represent New York City FC at the 2018 All-Star Game, after Villa’s injury ruled him out of the lineup. Image: Tisha Gale

With the debate seeming to end in a stalemate, at least until things undoubtedly heat up again next year, on what side of the coin do you land?  Should the powers that be package the MLS ASG in maple and drape it in the stars and stripes, or will a simple restructuring make it a more appealing event for players and fans alike?

Tisha Gale - MLS All-Star/mlsfemale
Sami Khedira aerial challenge. Image: Tisha Gale

As for me, this was my first year attending an MLS All-Star game, and I was fortunate enough to do so while representing MLSFemale. The All-Stars also presented a unique opportunity for me to network with other fans, photographers, reporters and podcasters from across the league, including a few of my MLSFemale colleagues.

Tisha Gale - MLS All-Star/mlsfemale
MLSFemale Cooligans Crew: Robyn (ATL), Jess (COL), Eve (IMFC), Aya (ATL), Tisha (NYCFC) 🙂

ATL All-Star 18 - Tisha - MLS All-Star/mlsfemale

Pointless or not, the atmosphere inside the stadium was electrifying; all my senses were heightened. The thrill of flashing my “Photographer” media credentials to security as I roamed the belly of Mercedes-Benz Stadium was enough to give me the best heart palpitations. By the time the game started, I was already on cloud 9. The photographer sitting next to me who kept quietly chanting, “This is boring,” could do nothing to lull me out of my perpetual state of bliss, and neither could the star whose bulb blew at the absolute wrong time.

Tisha Gale - MLS All-Star/mlsfemale

Tisha Gale - MLS All-Star/mlsfemale
Image: Tisha Gale

Images by Tisha Gale 

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @TishaGale

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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I’m Upset: NYCFC loses to Seattle 1-3

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

In honor of my two teenagers and the young players on my favorite team, I have decided to release my NYCFC versus Seattle Sounders version of Drake’s “I’m Upset”.  It will most likely be cringe-worthy to many but it allowed me to work through my feelings of disappointment.  So thank you for humoring me.

giphy

I’m upset
Only 3 wins on the road- it’s disrespect
Seemed wrong I know, I double-checked
Even with return of Jo Berget
Our shut-out streak had to end
I’m all verklempt
Got a lotta love for the Blue
Captain Villa, it’s kinda hard without you
Como está su rodilla?
Can’t win Cups without wins on the road
Every game New York fans expect a win
We have no stadium!
We still have 5 plus years of searching for a home
Atlanta sits up top of the chart with 47
Over in Jersey they talk a lot of trash but they’re still in 3rd.
Word to Coach Dome J- Lew finally seeing the pitch
Why the hell no Chanot?

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I’m upset
Travel 3000 miles, what’s the effect?
Dome worried about jet lag, can’t play their best
Maxi was spent
But this is MLS life
We got points to collect
So what’s next?
After an L to Seattle, what the heck?
Even with good clearances from Seb
At least Medina got one on a cross from Berget
In the end no effect
Only other offense was from Mata on the left
Where was halftime magic from Torrent?
Sean Johnson, we still love you, no disrespect
Got a lot of love for the Blue
Ring, it’s hard to win without you,
Thankful you’ll be back in the next one
Can’t win a Cup without wins on the road.

Domènec Torrent
Head Coach of NYCFC, Domènec Torrent.

Behind the lyrics

After New York City Football Club lost another match on the road to Seattle Sounders, the author/terrible rap lyricist talks about the return from injury of forward Jo Inge Berget, the continued absence of injured captain David Villa and how we still have no stadium to call our own.  In the MLS Eastern Conference,  Atlanta FC has 47 points with 23 games played, NYCFC has 43 points with 22 games played and New York Red Bulls has 41 with 21 games played.  Fans regularly express excitement that coach Dome Torrent continues to give Jonathan Lewis an important role as a “Super Sub”.

The game was about 3000 miles away from their previous game in Orlando three days prior and coach Dome expressed concern about the jet lag.  Fans noticed how unusually winded midfielder Maxi Moralez looked in the second half.

In the first half, Seattle scored two goals, yet NYC usually gets a big boost after halftime, even when they are down.  Alas, despite some strong attacking attempts and crosses by Ronald Matarrita, some good defensive clearances by Sebastien Ibeagha and a beautiful goal by Jesús Medina on a low cross by Berget, New York just couldn’t equalize.

It is also very apparent how vital to the team midfielder Alex Ring is and how deeply we felt his suspension due to yellow card accumulation.  Although I was disappointed in the loss, the team had recorded 4 shutouts prior to the loss and a great portion of the credit goes to stellar goalkeeping by Sean Johnson.  And yet, if City wants to win the MLS Cup, it’s essential that we record more wins on the road.

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Next game is home on Saturday, August 4th against the Vancouver Whitecaps.  Check out my colleagues’ coverage of the MLS All-Star Game on August 1st by following @mlsfemale on Twitter and Instagram.

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

Images by Tisha Gale 

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

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NYCFC squeak past the NY Red Bulls 1-0 at the #HudsonRiverDerby

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

Photos by Tisha Gale (& Keira Smith) // @TishaGale

Sunday, July 8: 1-0 Win

It feels like it’s been a long time since New York City Football Club has played at home in the Bronx. The atmosphere at the Hudson River Derby felt a bit like a huge family reunion, ripe with banners, glitter, costumes, drinking and dancing and the obligatory distant “cousins” who are loud, overly opinionated and wear strange clothing.  And yet, it would be a super boring event without them.  IMG_0154

If we’re being honest, we need to admit that for much of our club’s history, the New York Red Bulls have handed our heads to us on a silver platter. Granted, they’ve had many more years to develop the knife factory.  They figured out how to defeat NYCFC pretty consistently.

A few things going into the July 8th match:

  • This was less of a sure thing for RBNY as both teams had new (ish) coaches with Doménec Torrent having merely two prior games under his belt and with Chris Armas at the helm for the Red Bulls, promoted to Head Coach upon last weeks’s announced departure of Jesse Marsch.
  • The match was at Yankee stadium which is notoriously hard for visiting teams to handle due to its narrow width.
  • NYCFC had both David Villa and Jo Inge Berget completely out of the lineup with Berget’s absence a last minute unpleasant surprise.
  • RBNY were missing Florian Valot, who will be out for the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL

The starting lineup mixed in some faces we haven’t seen in a while such as Rodney Wallace on left wing, returning from World Cup duties for Costa Rica and Maxime Chanot as a center back after a string of mysterious absences.  On paper, it also looked like Maxi Moralez had striker duties for this game.  Despite the return of some veterans to the starting XI, it was clearly not the same old tactics in facing the Red Bulls.

For this game, the dyed-in-the-wool “Play out of the back” strategy was not to be seen and instead, replaced by quick restarts of long balls to the wings by goalkeeper Sean Johnson.  Particularly in the first half, this was effective in countering RBNY’s previously deadly high press as NYC kept 61.3% possession and won 54.8% of duels.

However, of the 10 NYCFC shots on goal in the first half, 5 were blocked solidly by RB’s defense, one was saved by Robles and the others were off target.  City could not squeeze juice from the pretty pineapple.

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In the second half, the Red Bulls held much more possession and seemed to be consistently on the attack.  Chanot settled nicely back into the center back role, a position that he shared with Alexander Callens for this game, clearing aerial balls, destroying low shots with sliding tackles and making life difficult for Red Bulls star striker Bradley Wright-Phillips.

And yet there was a point that fans began to think that we would be okay with a draw and taking the one point.  Then Jonathan Lewis came in for Rodney Wallace and the whole offensive rhythm changed with Lewis dancing and weaving, overall giving the RBNY defense more to contend with.  Nine minutes after he came on, Lewis served a ball across the goal to Moralez who buried it.  At that point, it was all hands on deck to defend and protect the lead.  Besides the combination that lead to the goal, it was not a pretty game but it did the trick.

A win is a win – especially without a “striker”.

Pretty fly for a non-striker
Maxi Moralez entering the stadium before the match vs the NY Red Bulls

Next game is Wednesday, July 11th at home versus the Montreal Impact.

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Images by Tisha Gale and Keira Smith

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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Toronto FC fall to NYCFC 2-1 as Ant-man is swatted away

Keira Smith - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

Tisha Gale - NYCFC photographer/mlsfemale
Official NYCFC Photographer

Photos by Tisha Gale // @gale_tisha

Sunday, June 24: 2-1 Win

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Starting XI. Image: Tisha Gale/mlsfemale

In New York City Football Club‘s first outing with head coach Domènec Torrent, they successfully slew visiting foe and defending MLS Cup champions Toronto Football Club 2-1 with little on-field drama.

However, in the days leading up to this game, the first after beloved head coach Patrick Vieira departed for his new position at OGC Nice, there were many doubts as to whether “Domè” would obtain work visa clearance in time for this game.  Fans speculated as to who would lead the team against Toronto, should Torrent be delayed.  Luckily, approvals came through and he was able to lead a short team training session on Saturday.  It wasn’t a shock however that there weren’t any big changes to the starting eleven from the draw with Atlanta United on June 9th.

Domènec Torrent
New head coach of NYCFC, Domènec Torrent. Image: Tisha Gale/mlsfemale

Although NYC had more possession in the first half, they went down a goal when Victor Vasquez scored in the 37th minute.  The Boys in Blue stayed calm and continued to press and came out in the second half with more energy and verve.  Although City’s possession went down, they won more duals and utilized more crosses.

Fans didn’t have to wait long in the second half for the equalizer.  Jo Inge Berget cleverly and unexpectedly took a heel flick shot behind him on a pass from Jesus Medina and it was as if a collective sigh of relief was released in the stadium.  It was even now and anyone’s game.

At the 68th minute, Maxi Moralez weaved his way towards the goal releasing a centering pass which Berget perfectly placed into the back of the net. The stadium went wild.  A brace for Berget!  Did Domè successfully break the curse of Berget? Hope was alive and kicking with NYCFC fans in Yankee Stadium.

Jo Inge Berget
Jo Inge Berget poses for a photo with a young fan after the match. Image: Tisha Gale/mlsfemale

However, any  time we play Toronto, I am nervous about “the Silent Killer” (no not carbon monoxide), Sebastian Giovinco.  Giovinco can strike from anywhere at any time and you don’t see him coming.  Fortunately, NYCFC did an excellent job of containing him.

According to defender Ben Sweat, “Obviously Giovinco is one of the top players in the league.  We knew we had to watch the spacing behind and we knew we had to be smart and be tight with him.  With those kinds of players you have to be super aggressive and I thought the midfield did a really good job with that.  Shutting down Giovinco, shutting down Vasquez today.  It was good.”

Midfielder Alex Ring concurred: “Overall I think it was a good performance.  We played well between the zones and I was able to get a bit more offensive.”

The unfortunate side effect of this match was an injury to captain David Villa, who requested a substitution in the first half.  Details on his injury will be released later this week but Coach Torrent stated, “I spoke with him [Villa] and he told me it’s not serious. We are waiting for the doctor. I think it’s not bad, but maybe he needs one or two games.”  Fans are hoping for his quick and thorough recovery and, based on this performance, are optimistic that the team can continue to be successful even without him on the pitch.

David Villa
David Villa is out with an unspecified injury. Image: Tisha Gale/mlsfemale

One-Timers

It was the battle of the two smallest #10s in MLS. Giovinco’s nickname is “The Atomic Ant” while Moralez has been called “El Frasquito” and more recently “Spider-man”.

Thanks to an introduction by NYCFC president Jon Patricof, I got to meet one of the rare female referees in the world of soccer, Kathryn Nesbitt.  Nesbitt served as an assistant referee in this match.

All images: Tisha Gale @gale_tisha

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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