NYCFC is yet to win in 2019. The team had struggled prior to hiring Patrick Vieira, but the manager got the most out of Pirlo and Frank Lampard when he was saddled with them after taking over for current US U-23 manager Jason Kreis. This year things are different, Vieira is gone and so is David Villa. New manager Domenec Torrent has struggled to get the new players to replace one of the most torrid goal scorers in league history and the field at Yankee Stadium - the temporary baseball stadium where they are playing their fifth season temporarily - isn’t cooperating.
There’s a dead raccoon @ Yankee Stadium. #NYCFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/0jKwzdC72A— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) April 6, 2019
Luckily, the team is getting a new coach.
Fans: “we want a new coach”— Chris P. (@NYCFCfan) April 10, 2019
NYCFC: “say no more” pic.twitter.com/jWl9xzjc4N
As far as tone-deaf fail-marketing, this is pretty bad. It’s worse that the team is owned by a king who won’t spend money on a real soccer stadium, or at least a venue where the pitch is regulation and not a torn ACL waiting to happen, and that the league is just so happy to have a team in the actual city of New York that it doesn’t seem to care.
Anyway... here’s how some of the Americans for NYCFC and elsewhere in MLS did recently...
Two games, two teams, three cleansheets
DC United and Montreal Impact both played two games this week. For their part, Montreal bounced back after getting crushed by Sporting Kansas City 7-1 a few weeks ago. In that time, the team has three clean sheets having kept one the weekend prior to this one against NYCFC. They picked up where they left off keeping DC United scoreless at Audi Field and then stopped Gyasi Zardes and the Columbus Crew from scoring back in Canada over the weekend - that’d be three clean sheets in a row for Evan Bush and American Left Back Daniel Lovitz.
Meanwhile, things went OK for DCU. Following the draw and another clean sheet for Bill Hamid, the team went to Colorado where they beat the Rapids 3-2. Chris Durkin started that game for a rotated Russell Canouse and scored his first MLS goal. For the Rapids, Benny Feilhaber would score and Kellyn Acosta would go the full 90 in the loss.
Pouring gas on the Fire
Last week, we discussed how the Chicago Fire are attempting to not be an embarrassment anymore by moving to an NFL stadium once graced by Jay Cutler (no, they’re not relocating to Miami). This week, the Fire jumped on the aging attacker bandwagon and brought in Nicolas Gaitan to play in attacking midfield. Seemingly, his minutes are coming at the expense of Djordje Mihailovic who was on the bench until coming on for Mo Adams in the 66th minute.
Building around youth? Building around a 31 year old player? Build through the draft? Start a USL team? What’s the plan in Chicago? For now it seems like it’s to keep muddling through until they stumble into something that works and as a result, a dynamic attacking young American is on the bench. The Fire drew at home 1-1 to the winless Vancouver Whitecaps on Friday night and are in 8th place in the Eastern Conference.
San Jose, still bad - but this is good I guess
Despite beating the winless still Portland Timbers last week, the Earthquakes are still bad. The team faced the Houston Dynamo and lost 2-1. The game featured Tommy Thompson fulfilling his destiny again as a former attacker now playing right back, with Nick Lima coming off of the bench for two minutes. But, it also had the first MLS goal in the carrier of Jackson Yueill who played in central midfield for the Quakes.
Yueill would make way in the 70th minute for Chris Wondolowski who is looking for two goals this year to break Landon Donovan’s all time MLS scoring record.
More goals for Jozy
Yes, it’s MLS and yes the defenses seem to have somehow gotten worse this season - really, the defending has not kept up at all with the new types of attackers that the league is bringing in and it looks like FIFA on easy mode, anyway Jozy Altidore now has five goals in four games. He scored them against a side that’s generally thought of as being pretty capable defensively, the deteriorating skillset of Chad Marshall not withstanding, and if he keeps this up, a healthy and in form Jozy Altidore will be a huge asset to the USMNT by the time the Gold Cup rolls around.
❌ Scratch that.— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) April 13, 2019
5️⃣ goals in 4️⃣ matches for @JozyAltidore! https://t.co/9dq2G9WTOV
Still the two goals weren’t enough to overcome the Seattle Sounders because also scoring two goals in the game, which is the same number that Jozy Altidore had, was Will Bruin with Cristian Roldan adding one of his own. If you give up a goal to Will Bruin, you deserve to lose, much less two goals. For his part, Jordan Morris had a quiet night without registering a shot in the match.
Bravo @CristianRoldan!— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) April 14, 2019
As for how NYCFC actually played...
Well, the matchup between NYCFC and Minnesota United had a little bit of everything: goals, piles of mid-April snow, Taylor Twellman feeding Jon Champion shrimp on television because the new stadium in Minnesota also seems to be some sort of all you can eat buffet. But it also had a single moment that could be said to encapsulate the NYCFC season (other than the pitch at their baseball stadium coming apart):
Oh boy....what a HOWLER by Sean Johnson!— Joga Bonito (@Jasoninho10) April 13, 2019
Disastrous own goal by the #NYCFC goalkeeper.#Howler #MINvNYC #MLS #MNUFC pic.twitter.com/4NybZN578G
#Howler indeed, that’s called a metaphor kids. Aside from Johnson, James Sands started and went the full 90... as a center back in a 3-5-2 formation. Why are people so upset at Domenec Torrent? This wasn’t a bad draw for the Pigeons and they were a keeper howler away from a 3-2 win. Still, the team is really lacking in defensive midfield and the answer probably isn’t playing a defensive midfielder at center back while you hope the central midfield doesn’t get overrun all day.
For Minnesota, Ethan Finlay is continuing to reserruct his career and got his first assist of the year in the 3-3 draw.