Having big name players doesn’t necessarily mean playing better, and this is something NYC FC knows all about. NYC FC spent its first season waiting and waiting for it’s big names to arrive. I think New York City FC fans want to see more of what their big names like Villa, Pirlo, and Lampard can do. New York City FC started their season off on Sunday in a thrilling 4-3 game against the Chicago Fire. After watching this game here is why I think you should be excited as a NYCFC fan, or willing to watch them as a general MLS fan.
There’s plenty of options in the midfield. You obviously know about Pirlo and Lampard(Lampard didn’t feature in Chicago game, out with injury). Then there’s Mix who looks very fit and capable of playing that box to box midfield role. McNamara also scored a beauty of a goal in this game, and I think he’s also a player to keep an eye
on in his second season with NYCFC. Then there’s Poku. I think Viera has to find a way to get this guy on the field. He was sensational last year in New York City’s Open Cup game against the New York Cosmos of the NASL. He was also a amazing option off the bench. The biggest questions mark is how do these pieces fit together. I don’t think Pirlo can be trusted to play defensive mid alone, and I don’t think they have a bruiser to help him with that role. There’s no real bite in the midfield. Just a bunch of crafty center mids trying to create.
Villa is just as dynamic as ever. He plays the false number 9 role extremely well. He likes to drop into the midfield sometimes in order to pick up the ball and create just as much as he likes to sit on the last man and score. I see Villa getting at least 16 goals this season. Khiry Shelton offers a amazing combination of speed and height on the right wing. He’s also very skillful on the wing(check him out rounding the keeper and scoring this past Sunday). If I was a New York City fan I would be extremely excited to watch this guy terrorize right backs this season. Tony Taylor is also good on the left wing. I don’t think NYCFC will struggle at all with attacking options this season but there will be one huge struggle with this team…
This defense is simply awful. There’s no communication between the back four. Several times the NYCFC back line was caught holding to high of a line and left Chicago Fire forwards running in behind after a perfectly timed run. You could have an argument that NYCFC is lucky to not have lost this game. Chicago Fire forwards ran through the defense with ease and it doesn’t help them that their defensive mid is a very old and very fragile Pirlo. They build out of the back well but having all this attacking talent in front of them means nothing if you can’t keep balls out of the back of your own net.
Overall I think NYCFC will not struggle to score goals this year. Their attacking options are plentiful, but Viera needs to sort out that midfield. The defense needs a lot of work if New York City want to make the playoffs in their second season. The season is still young. We’ll see if this team can get it together over the course of the remaining 33 games.