In their third year in MLS, New York City FC is looking to build on a solid 2016 campaign filled with plenty of hope. The club did make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and was a dominant team in MLS over much of the season.
But there are holes and concerns ahead of Sunday’s home opener at Yankee Stadium, even with one of the most talented teams in the league assembled on their roster.
Three Things to Know About NYCFC This Season:
1.Star-studded but not any Younger – Yes, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo are class players with World Cup and Champions League successes on their resumes. But they are both among the oldest players on the team (Pirlo turns 38-years old in two months) and another year of mileage to these two, vital pieces to NYC’s build-up, could be devastating in a grueling MLS season. The team has to manage their minutes to ensure that both players are fresh come the playoffs. If they are, this team can go deep towards an MLS Cup run given the difference makers available.
2. Getting Maxed out on Moralez – Argentinian born Maximiliano Moralez is one of the most exciting signings of the MLS offseason, a player who has appeared once for his storied national team. Moralez has had success in Mexico and a string of successful year’s in Italy. The creative midfielder is in his prime and should be the spark this team was lacking last season as he can pull the strings and orchestrate the attack. He sputtered a bit last week in his MLS debut, a 1-0 loss at Orlando City but Moralez should be a fun player to watch if he doesn’t get dragged down by the league’s physical play.
3.Making the City Blue – In six meetings against the New York Red Bulls, their rival across the river, City has won just once and suffered a humiliating 7-0 defeat last season at Yankee Stadium. One has to think that if City can finally right the ship and take the season series against their rivals, then it might give them some momentum for a playoff run. They need to do that because right now the Red Bulls are in the heads like an earworm.