Season Preview: New York City FC

NYCFC kits 2016

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

New York City FC’s inaugural season ended with three straight losses and the removal of Jason Kreis as head coach. Patrick Vieira takes the reins in his first ever senior head coaching gig after coaching Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad.

Vieira’s arrival is part of an added emphasis on youth that saw NYCFC cut the age of its squad by two years. Sporting Director Claudio Reyna acquired 19-year-old winger Jack Harrison from the Chicago Fire after they chose him first overall in this year’s SuperDraft. Reyna used targeted allocation money to improve New York City’s defense by signing Ronald Matarrita and Frédéric Brillant and traded for former Philadelphia Union defender Ethan White.

Vieira said he wants NYCFC to play a high tempo, possession-oriented game but will have to include two of MLS’ three oldest players into his plans. Midfielders Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo are set to spend a full season in New York and will have to rely on their positioning and technical ability to be contributors in a league that is too fast for them.

NYCFC’s chances hinge on if they can be effective in creating chances for forward David Villa while not exposing themselves on defense. New York City’s back four are more talented than last season but if they are not protected by their midfield, then there’s little hope of an improvement from the league-worst 58 goals allowed last season.

2015 FINISH: 10—17—7, 37 points (8th in Eastern Conference, Missed Playoffs)

INCOMING PLAYERS

Defenders: Diego Martinez, Ronald Matarrita, Frédéric Brillant, Ethan White Midfielders: Jack Harrison, Mikey Lopez, Federico Bravo

OUTGOING PLAYERS

Goalkeeper: Ryan Meara Defenders: Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Jeb Brovsky, Angelino, Shay Facey, Chris Wingert Midfielders: Sebastian Velasquez, Javier Calle, Pablo Alvarez, Ned Grabavoy

THE SCHEDULE

NYCFC have a favorable start to the season with four of its first five matches at home. They will be tested in May with away games to D.C. United, Portland Timbers and Toronto FC followed by the first Hudson River Derby match of the season. The second and third meetings with the New York Red Bulls are in July, along with road games at the New England Revolution, Sporting Kansas City and the Montreal Impact. There is a month between NYCFC’s final two home games. They host the Chicago Fire on September 23 but play twice on the road before returning to Yankee Stadium to conclude their regular season on October 23 against the Columbus Crew.

THE STARS

New York City FC’s three designated players are set to spend a full season together. Last year, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard joined the team in midseason and struggled in the second half of the 2015 season. Forward David Villa spent the whole season with NYCFC and led the team with 18 goals. Pirlo and Lampard might be able to help create chances for Villa to finish so long as they aren’t over-matched by their younger, more athletic opponents in midfield.

THE ROLEPLAYERS

Kreis relied on MLS veterans to supplement NYCFC’s stars and it did not work. Vieira and the rest of the NYCFC team have opted for a new approach based around young professionals. American wingers Khiry Shelton and Tony Taylor are healthy and will support Villa in attack. Midfielders Mikey Lopez and Federico Bravo are defensive-minded midielders and provide needed athleticism. Ronald Matarrita, Diego Martinez and Ethan White are all 25 or younger and are expected to be key to New York City’s defense. 

PLAYER TO WATCH: Mix Diskerud

Mix Diskerud is back playing centrally for NYCFC and in a playmaking role that better suits him. Diskerud is not a traditional number ten but will be involved in creating chances for the attack. His primary role is to help shuttle the play into the final third. Vieira wants midfielders to join the attack. That should help Diskerud improve on the three-goal, one-assist season he had in 2015.

QUESTIONS THIS SEASON

  • How will Patrick Vieira adapt to the MLS challenge?
  • Can Lampard and Pirlo be effective throughout a full season?
  • Will NYCFC’s young players step up?
  • Does an overhaul improve NYCFC’s defensive record?
  • Was Poku-mania a flash in the pan?

HOW WILL THEY FINISH

Prediction: Sixth in the Eastern Conference, Wild Card Round loss.

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  • Anthony

    Prediction – Will sell plenty of tickets to Yankee fans and tourists and their atmosphere will be terrible, again. They will flirt with a playoff spot in MLS all year (which isnt saying much since pretty much everyone qualifies for the playoffs in MLS) but ultimately fall short, again. Their FO and fans will do at least 3-4 highly embarrassing stunts over the year. in short, sophomore slump city.

    • Larry\’s a simpleton

      And I will have lots of naked dance parties!

      The first one is this weekend!

      We’ll be featuring acid jazz, homemade manicotti and a team of the world’s finest gerbils!

      Let’s the games begin, baby!

      • Larry\’s A Simpleton

        whats the matter jsprech-onionsac-opencufan? feelings hurt? instead of posting your bull **** over here, why dont you start that collection so the f.cosmos can pay the bills.

        jesus christ, the f.cosmos got sued becasue they wouldnt pay off the mosney to the youth soccer legues. raul got tired of all those bounced checks and got out of town asap and the f.cosmos stiffed that venezuelan team when they signed dik.

        #STOP-BOUNCING-CHECKS-F.COSMOS!!!

    • slowleftarm

      Even if Anthony’s prediction is true it still sounds way better than being a Cosmos fanboy.

      • Anthony

        Not really, Cosmos fans get to at least celebrate wining trophies…and beating Man City USA.

        • slowleftarm

          By all means enjoy your minor league trophy but just don’t confuse it with winning a trophy in MLS. Obviously, the latter is the pinnacle of the US soccer pyramid.

      • Larry\’s A Simpleton

        i wouldnt worry bro. ant is another dooshbag who was ass raped by the reality that the f.cosmos are the biggest joke in the city. oh thats right the f.cosmos dont play in the city. theyre out there in nassau county dying a slow death.

        #HOW-COME-THE-F.COSMOS-NEVER-PAY-THEIR-BILLS???

    • Anthony

      Looks like their fans already did one embarrassing thing before the season even started. I hear at the supporters meeting their reps nominated their FO for an FO of the year award. LOLOLOL. You really can’t make this **** up.

      • Larry\’s A Simpleton

        gee ant, looks like youre nothing but another delusional retard that follows the f.cosmos. the atmosphere was horrible at yankee stadium last year? ROFLMAO!!

        The stadium was packed and got more fans in one game the the f.cosmos got for the entire spring season!

        only retards who follow the f.cosmos think those 3000 at the lacrosse field made a better atmosphere that the 30000 at yankee stadium. btw how many home games are the f.cosmos having at the college lacrosse stadium this season? how many times are they getting the boot like last season?

        #HEY-STOVER-PAY-YOUR-BILLS!

        • Larrys momma

          real nycfc fans think larry loves sheep too
          Baaaaaaaaaaa Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • Johnny Feelgood

    One thing is certain. A year later I’m still hip. I follow such a pure, organic organization. My girlfriend- the model who never smiles- is campaigning for Bernie Sanders but I’ll tell you – she’ll be back soon with me in my 3rd base line seats. Speaking of organic, I’ve gone to an all vegetable, no dairy, no sugar diet. God I feel so alive. Thank you NYCFC.

    • slowleftarm

      Oh great – this guy is back with incredibly unfunny schtick. Surprised he hasn’t posted a reply yet under his other name.