Empire XI: At New York City FC’s Moment, the New York Yankees Emerged

IMAGE, DAVE MARTINEZ, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Christian Araos
Staff Writer

They were there long before Monday’s press conference ever took place. They have done it all before and they do not need to answer to you, rival fan or journalist. They are what you wanted to be, but knew you were never going to achieve.

They are the New York Yankees.

After months of identifying themselves with their majority owners Manchester City, the Yankees emerged from the shadows at Monday’s press conference to show us that they were not just lending their name and stadium to New York City FC — they were giving them their swagger as well. The swagger that their owners have not earned. The swagger that no team in MLS (or America for that matter) can lay claim to.  The swagger that has every other fanbase craning their necks upwards at something that will soon enter its midst.

It is the swagger that comes with unquestioned success, and it is a bodyguard for NYCFC; an escort into the American sporting world. It’s the Playmate of the Year wrapped around your arm, giving you a tour of the Playboy Mansion.

It is unprecedented in the realm of MLS, and is already a game changer.

The Yankees’ confidence in themselves to share their previously exclusive home would be confounding to anyone else — if it were not the Yankees. Proven success is emboldening; it’s what makes New York what it was before the Bohemians came in. You know, the ones that get profiled by the New York Times. The pro/rel advocates. The romantics. This is the core of New York that makes New York arrogant. They do not read the New York Times because they know the Daily News is for them.

It is the scariest thing American soccer has seen. Embrace it.

The Yankees are assured because they know better, and they know how to make you feel as if they do not — just to get your hopes up. You want them to step back into irrelevancy, but you know things would feel empty without them.  Just look at how you have to come up with new Manchester United jokes because you know that it’s weird to see them off the top. Under any other circumstance, this ground-share thing should fail and it should send new and old swagger off their perch. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ho he he aha ha ho he ha ha.

You really think this is going to fail? Tell your rationale to shut up.  This is the Yankees. They make it work. They did it before, remember? With the original soccer team that invented the new kids on the block swagger? It was a temporary home preceded by a home as baroque as the original incarnation of the New York Cosmos. What makes NYCFC different than the Cosmos even though their stature is the same? European history. The baroque Cosmos went away, the Enlightenment followed, bringing in NYCFC–the team who knows they will succeed because they saw their predecessors stumble.

They are the products of evolution — partnered with The Illuminati.

Maybe that’s why they are resented. Every step they have taken has been ideal — until now. The pent up resentment and doubt needed an escape valve and logistics created it. Logistics — the great checker on all plans. The how; it is what gets conveniently ignored by the vociferous supporters of the newest teams in the area and their respective leagues.

Logistics checks itself with the Yankees.  That’s an intimidating fact.

That’s what the Yankee influence is to American soccer: intimidation…positive intimidation. There are no big dogs in American soccer. The only team that was the big dog went away in a cloud of dust and disco.

The Yankees are the big dog of American sports.  Not baseball.  Not soccer.  Sports.  They will silence the barks from all of the soccer world and turn them to whimpers.  That’s what they did to the baseball world before the game changed to level the playing field.

A level playing field may be what keeps NYCFC in check more so than logistics. MLS’ tight salary cap will loosen when a new CBA is agreed to, but the controlled spending — the thing the romantics want out of MLS — is what muzzles this team. Odd thing is, when the original big dog — the celebrated New York Cosmos — tried to return to the forefront of American soccer, it didn’t want the muzzle and went somewhere where there were no muzzled teams.

The bigger dog chose the muzzle.

It is also the contrasting dynamic of NYCFC which makes this all so interesting. The bold Yankee support has grounded NYCFC in an extrovert-introvert relationship. Nothing gets more introvert than American soccer, where we urge ourselves to spread the game because we’re still not sure of what it is and what it will become. Nothing gets more extrovert than the Yankees, who’ve always known what they are.

The extrovert has arrived on our humble gathering. He thinks it is time to turn things up a notch and has the know-how to do it.

Are we ready?

Empire XI

1. Add Columbus Crew midfielder Wil Trapp to the long list of superb defensive midfielders playing in MLS. In one sequence, Trapp did everything required from a modern-day number six. You’ve seen the highlight — if not, here it is. What stands out, besides D.C. United frantically dropping back, is Trapp’s composure. He makes a tackle on Fabian Espindola, who already scored in the game, to stop him from making it a brace and clinching the match.  He shuttles the ball out of defense with controlled urgency and then delivers a perfect pass that leads to an assist. That play was one-part Maurice Edu, one-part Michael Bradley and one-part Kyle Beckerman.

2. The other significant event that went the Crew’s way in that game was referee Juan Guzman’s decision to only give center back Giancarlo Gonzalez a yellow card for his professional foul on Eddie Johnson. It should have been a red and the fact that Guzman cited the fact that someone forgot to post the media procedural doctrine for pool reports on the locker room as an excuse to not answer the reporter pool request for an explanation is a cop-out. However, the fact that became the subject of a blog post from a reporter at the Washington Post about the league not having transparency and accountability comes across as opportunistic and petty. As a reporter, the last thing you want to do is to create the perception of bias either against or for something you cover. If you feel that may be a concern, you disclose it in advance so that the reader knows where you’re coming from. As a reader of the Soccer Insider blog, I cannot feel that the same post would have been made had that been Bobby Boswell hauling down Jairo Arrieta.

3. While set-pieces are something the US Men’s National Team will have to improve on during their preparations for the World Cup, it would be kind of a smart idea to add Matt Besler’s long throw-ins to their arsenal of set piece plays.  It led to Sporting Kansas City’s opening goal and it has given defenses nightmares this season. Most teams, not just MLS, are taken aback when they see a team use long throw-ins.  It’s how Rory Delap lasted a few seasons in the Premier League, and considering the US has never done a long throw-in, there is no tape on it for opponents to scout.

4. If Dom Dwyer was Sporting Kansas City’s loan success story for 2013, Kevin Ellis might be in that position for 2014. The right back was loaned to OKC Energy FC as part of Kansas City’s USL Pro agreement. Like Dwyer in 2013, Ellis has shown some flashes of his potential at right back, most notably against Cruz Azul in the First Leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal when he scored the lone goal. While Kansas City are already in good hands with Chance Myers at right back, Ellis might be ready for consistent MLS minutes in the not too distant future.

5. The future is looking bright for Rubio Rubin who had a tremendous Dallas Cup, scoring four goals in the tournament. Brian Sciaretta’s profile sums him up pretty nicely and it will be interesting to see how Rubin’s first professional season with FC Utrecht goes. Sciaretta taps him for a first-team debut next season and the Eredivisie is very kind to young attackers, so his name is one to remember for those into the Yanks Abroad scene.

6. While Rubin will be new to the Yanks Abroad scene, Tim Howard is going to be sticking around it for a few more years. Howard just signed a contract extension with Everton that will run to the end of the 2017-18 season. Howard is having a career year with 14 clean sheets, good for second in the Premier League behind Petr Cech of Chelsea.

7. The fact that this contract lasts throughout the next World Cup cycle is enough to suggest that Howard may not retire from the USMNT after the World Cup. Brad Guzan is obviously capable of handling the load but Howard’s season may not be a sign that he would be willing to give Guzan the number one shirt right away. Fortunately, Howard is modest enough to know when the time is up for him with the US.  Our own Patrick MacDonald discussed this over the weekend.

8. There is something weird going on with the LA Galaxy’s backline. There are some injuries and a slight depth issue, but when three-fourths of the backline is Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo and A.J. DeLaGarza, there is enough talent to overcome those issues easily. Head Coach Bruce Arena has to find the right combination soon enough, right? If not, someone has to go — especially if it becomes further apparent that the Galaxy’s defensive chemistry becomes broken beyond repair.

9. A fully healthy Houston Dynamo vs. a stabilizing New York Red Bulls in a playoff rematch? Sign me up for that definitive game tomorrow night.

10. No shock that the New York Cosmos are already separating themselves from the rest of the NASL table. That leaves the other nine teams in a similar position to an overachieving college football team. The best way for an overachieving college team to make a run for the conference title is to avoid playing the favorite for as long as possible, so that when the eventual meeting takes place, it becomes a one-off that allows for an upset or a miracle to happen *cough Auburn*. Shame, then, for the Carolina RailHawks, who face the Cosmos in two weeks.

11. Rest in Peace Eric Shertz, a long time member of the Sons of Ben. When this party that is American soccer takes off, we’ll toast to people like you who will watch this unfold from above.

  • Anthony

    God you are the biggest fucking shill for Man city and the Yankees. This entire article reads like you are trying to assure yourself of your delusions. Dave really must be desperate for contributors.

  • Anthony

    Dave if you need actual journalists I can help you find a few. This tool is no better than an annoying op-ed writer.

  • Anthony

    Finally, is there a fucking reason when i click on Cosmos news I am constantly bombarded with articles from this tool Christain Araos?? Is he not getting enough hits on the NYCFC portion of this website he has to siphon hits from the most popular page here?

  • Bronx Boy

    Just as well they have a financial stake so that when the new team starts tearing up the outfield new stadium funding should get a boost ;-P Without harming the smaller sides,

    The MLS should look at raising the salary cap somewhat so we do see the development of major new franchises in NY, LA (with Chivas reboot) and Miami.

    The league has the feeling now of having gone through the tough times and being about ready to move to another level and if that isn’t reflected on the pitch (sorry the standard is still somewhere on a par with central Eastern European leagues, for no good reason as these leagues are broke) then the real potential there is for rapid growth in popularity and profile domestically and internationally won’t eventuate.

    In semi-related commentary, anyone interested in the formation of a new ultras group for NYCFC; any moves afoot?

    • Anthony

      There are already a a small band of tools that formed a Man city light support club…they hold meetings of 5 people and then **** off all the other EPL fans by taking offensive pics in front of their banners. Anyone that is a hard core soccer fan in this region has already chosen NYRB or NY Csmos…everyone remaining are the insufferable douchebags,

      • Bronx Boy

        Um, no, I’d count myself as a pretty serious fan and am not particularly interested in either club. Not a Man City fan either but look forward to supporting the new NY team. If your post was to cause offense, go for it, could care less

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