Tick-tock, the clock is ticking on NYCFC.
The MLS season is about to resume after the Leagues Cup final matches, and the Cityzens are currently dwelling in the Eastern Conference basement.
Can this NYCFC squad figure out how to salvage the season and make the playoffs this fall?
This is the critical question that NYCFC fans should be asking now in the season. After an inglorious exit in the Leagues Cup to their rivals, the New York Red Bulls, the Cityzens hopefully have had time to heal up, stock up on what needs to get done and be ready for a final season push towards the playoffs. The alternative is to roll over, play dead, and watch 2023 sail into the sunset.
The good folks over at Hudson River Blue have come up with some suggestions for NYCFC head coach Nick Cushing to try and see what can be done to save this season, and while I agree with some of their sentiments, I’m willing to digress a bit and talk more about what I see needs to be done.
As a former player and coach, soccer is a fluid sport where things need time to develop during a match, but if you don’t have a solid game plan and can’t keep your formational shape, then things have a tendency to develop against you.
What can be done to save this season?
1) Figure Out a Strong Attack and Get Scoring
Figure out a way to get a strong front attack to work together and start scoring some goals, please. You can look at a front three with a combination of newcomer Mounsef Bakrar, Santi Rodriguez, and additional transfer Alonso Martinez in the mix with a solid backup plan in Talles Magno.
Whoever you put together as your attacking side, please do it now and allow them to develop some chemistry. How about a 4-3-3 formation, folks?
Bakrar and Martinez were brought in specifically to add some offensive firepower, with Martinez being a professional and international veteran for Costa Rica and Bakrar honing his craft in Europe. Please use them for the intended purpose; they were added to the NYCFC roster and allow the trio of Martinez, Bakrar, and Rodriguez to do their thing and score some goals. It may sound overly simple, and maybe it should be, but you can’t win matches if you don’t score goals.
2) Maxi, Please!
Get Maxi Moralez back into the lineup – quickly. Look, Moralez is in the twilight of his career, but his experience, focus, and leadership can pay off even more than his playing talent.
Having been part of the heart of this franchise for a good amount of years and being a part of winning some silverware for this team gives Maxi Moralez an edge that many of the other players don’t seem to have right now – knowing how to win big.
3) Win Matches At Any Costs
Win matches both at home and on the road. NYCFC doesn’t have a stellar record at home with a 4-2-4 record which on the surface isn’t terrible, but not a barn-burner either. Those four draws could have easily been wins (again, let’s go back to scoring goals, please?), and with an abysmal road record of 1-6-7, the Cityzens cannot afford to lose any more home matches for the rest of the season.
If they do, it’s probably time to say goodbye to 2023 and watch this squad watch the MLS Cup playoffs from their home living rooms.