MLS Eastern Conference Preview, Predictions

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New York City FC

Last year’s results: N/A

Head coach: Jason Kreis, who joined after seven years coaching Real Salt Lake

Big offseason additions: All of them

There has been so much scrutiny about NYCFC’s every step, from its inception through its branding, but the most important piece of all is something of a mystery. This team has never played a competitive game; there’s no last season to provide a guideline for what to expect ahead.

Here’s what we (think we) know: there’s a lot of attacking talent here. David Villa’s name precedes him, Patrick Mullins showed promise in his rookie season, and Adam Nemec has experience in the Bundesliga and the international level. Given service, these guys will score. As for who’s providing that service…more questions.

You’re familiar with Mix Diskerud, but how much have you seen him play? A handful of substitute appearances for the USMNT, and the vague knowledge that he’s been playing in Norway. He’s talented, surely, but MLS and his newfound spotlight will be a test for him. Until Frank Lampard arrives, Sebastian Velasquez might be at the top of Jason Kreis’ famed diamond. He has MLS experience, but was only rarely a starter for Real Salt Lake.

Glass half full: Few coaches have had more success in MLS than Jason Kreis, and if anyone can guide an expansion team to the playoffs, it’s him. David Villa is a world-class striker, capable of scoring enough goals to keep City afloat and on course for the playoffs. In the summer, Lampard will finally join the team, and he probably won’t be the only big addition. They’re not going to dominate the league, but NYCFC can make the playoffs.

Glass half empty: NYCFC’s existence so far has largely been a series of off-the-field missteps, but rest assured: there will be on-the-field missteps. This is still an expansion team, and there will be growing pains despite City’s money. Big-name midseason arrivals often disrupt and distract even successful teams, and that fact might endanger City’s first-season plans. And frankly there are reasons to be concerned about the back line. Will this team be afforded some patience?

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  • Anonymous

    Six teams make the Eastern Conference playoffs this year. As ridiculous as that may sound, even worse is that NYRB will not be one of them. NYCFC has a better chance.

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