Trending Topics: A Look At NYCFC’s Road To The Playoffs

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

New York City FC need to find its best form of the season if they are to make the playoffs.

New York City FC are ninth in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining in their inaugural season in MLS. They trail the sixth-placed Montreal Impact by three points and the Impact have three games in hand on NYCFC.

The sixth placed team in the Eastern Conference is expected to have 44 points, according to American Soccer Analytics’ model. That estimate holds true to recent historical data, the Impact’s current points per game, and the points teams competing for the sixth spot will earn from several head-to-head matches between them.

That means NYCFC needs 16 points out of a possible 21 to have a realistic shot at the playoffs — a run of form that the team has yet to find.

NYCFC’s best seven game stretch this season came from May 30 to July 12 in which it collected 14 points. Four of those seven matches came against teams in playoff positions with the team collecting seven points from those matches. All but one of NYCFC’s upcoming seven matches are against teams in playoff positions. Three of their upcoming opponents are in the top five in the Supporters Shield standings.

Andrea Pirlo shed some light on how NYCFC would approach its final seven games after its loss to the Crew on Aug. 31.

“It’s seven important games that we have to play, but we need to take one at a time,” Pirlo said. “We need to think of one at a time. They’re all hard, but I’m sure that if we think of winning one at a time, then you do one, and you think of the next. That’s the way to proceed.”

No matter how you look at a mountain, it’s elevation will remain the same. But let’s follow Pirlo’s suggestion and take this one game at a time, starting with a road trip to FC Dallas this Saturday. FC Dallas has only dropped points in one of its home matches against teams from the East. Their ruthless counterattack was at its best in its 3–0 win against the Crew last Sunday and are exactly the team that can have a field day taking advantage of NYCFC’s haphazard spacing in defense.

Next up is Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium. Their hard luck loss against the Seattle Sounders last week serves as a blemish on what has been a good response from the team since getting passed out of the park by the New York Red Bulls three weeks ago. Sebastian Giovinco’s availability for next Wednesday’s match is uncertain. With Toronto playing three times in seven days, Giovinco is not going to see full minutes in each match. After notching a hat trick during his first game at Yankee Stadium, it would make sense for Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney to have his talisman rested in hopes of a repeat performance.

The San Jose Earthquakes come in to wrap up NYCFC’s upcoming week on Sept. 19. The Earthquakes are in the midst of their own playoff chase and have turned things around winning four of their last five matches after losing five of their previous six. It’s a Dominic Kinnear-coached team chasing a playoff spot, not something a team of individuals wants to be facing when it is trying to chase its own playoff spot.

We can go on to the next four matches but that might not be necessary. The Impact’s games in hand give them free opportunities to pad their lead in the race for the sixth spot. They play on the 12th, 16th and 19th as well before their next game in hand on the 23rd.

If the three-point gap between them and NYCFC remains the same or widens before that home match against the Chicago Fire, a second home win by the Impact could be the death knell of NYCFC’s playoff hopes. If the gap shrinks or NYCFC even manages to pass the Impact, then it can survive the impact of an Impact win.

The problem for NYCFC is that it has to be in this situation every time the Impact plays its game-in-hand. That means it has to stay as close as it can to the Impact for the next month before every team reaches 32 games played ahead of the fixtures scheduled for Oct. 16-18.

NYCFC only plays twice from Sept. 26 to Oct. 16 whereas the Impact plays four times, twice against non-playoff teams. That stretch is where keeping up with the Impact could prove to be impossible. The only way for NYCFC to survive that stretch is to keep itself as close as it can to Montreal by earning points against the Vancouver Whitecaps and/or DC United on the road. A thin late season stretch of matches on the road could not come at a worse time but that’s the impact of playoff baseball and their Yankee Stadium abode.

Head Coach Jason Kreis said NYCFC were not a finished product last week. That obviously needs to change for the team to make the playoffs. If it does change and NYCFC makes the playoffs, they will not be a team anyone in the East wants to face.

That, of course, remains to be seen.

“It is a challenging situation but it is what it is,” Kreis said. “For the most part, our guys have done well with it. Our record since June is 6-6 and some ties. That is obviously a marked improvement over what it was the first couple of months.

“I feel very positive we are headed in the right direction but as I said, effort is going to matter a lot,” he stressed. “I believe that. I truly believe in our league that the difference between the best teams and the very worst teams in the league often times comes down to how much they believe and how much they are willing to work together.”


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  • The translator

    What Pirlo said:

    ““It’s seven important games that we have to play, but we need to take one at a time,” Pirlo said. “We need to think of one at a time. They’re all hard, but I’m sure that if we think of winning one at a time, then you do one, and you think of the next. That’s the way to proceed.”

    What Pirlo Meant:

    “I don’t really care. We will likely lose 5 out of 7 & I will be home counting my money, drinking espresso and having a smoke before you know it. All this running around..I am exhausted.”

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  • Red eye

    Nyc has a tough schedule.
    Probably they will only get like 6 points the most and don’t make the playoffs.
    I wonder what will happen if Orlando makes the playoffs but not nyc, will kreis get fired or quit, or will nyc cut one of their dps.
    For now mls cup smells like galaxy vs red bull or galaxy vs crew.

  • David Carlin, Farm Animal Molester

    Make the playoffs??????? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!’!!!!!!!!!’!!!!!!!!!!

  • David Carlin, Farm Animal Molester

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • David Carlin, Farm Animal Molester

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • David Carlin, Farm Animal Molester

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaha

  • David Carlin, Farm Animal Molester

    This made my day! Now THATS funny!!!!

  • Matt

    The fact that they’re 9th in the league, and “could” still make the playoffs is a fucking problem. Makes the whole season a joke. **** Garber.

  • slowleftarm

    NYCFC’s road to the playoffs? I guess they’d take the turnpike and 280 to get to RBA if they want to watch some playoff games.

    • Ken Reeves

      If you want to avoid the tolls there’s rt 3 to 21. Just saying. I know how frugal boy city fans are and everything ..

  • Rocks Roxy Foxy Chavez

    This can’t be real!! I mean …I thought my beloved NYC was destined for MLS cup,or at least the Supporters Shield!
    All the money we spent ! The attendance averages ! Our daddy company ! The shieks ! The Yankees ! The Facebook and Twitter likes ! Please someone …anyone,tell me it’s going to be ok! I DERSERVE a championship THIS YEAR !!
    I’m a LONG SUFFERING FAN !!!! It’s been 6 WHOLE MONTHS!! Please don’t taze me!! I’ll be good I promise!

  • WilliamsburgHipster

    Man, we suck

    • Smith

      Pirlo and Lampard both looked they were gonna have heart attacks in Dallas and had to be subbed off.

      These guys are a laugh riot.

      Seriously, they’re so bad its great.

      They’re like the “Plan 9 from outer space” of MLS.


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