2. July and August are hectic
It is not uncommon for MLS teams to play multiple games in a short period of time. For New York City FC, this will be their storyline during the summer. In the months of July and August, NYCFC will play six games each. In fact, if NYCFC progress far in the U.S. Open Cup, there is a chance the number of games will increase. Currently, the U.S. Open Cup is scheduled to take place in July and August, with the possibility of the quarter-finals to the final during those months.
The high number of games will also require some players to rest. Fortunately, the team has a talented squad, so the issue of depth is not a major one, but this still reduces recovery time and raises the risk of injury. Plus, there is the concern whether players are out due to injury already. This will force some players to play more, which is again troublesome when there is a high concentration of games.
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Moreover, NYCFC will also have to travel often during the summer. With away games at San Jose, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, and Houston, they will not just have multiple flights, but some will take four hours or more. The only away game during this time that will not require traveling by plane will be against the New York Red Bulls, which is never the easiest place to play.
Additionally, MLS has a major problem. Each season, teams can only have two charter flights. Otherwise, these professional athletes must travel commercially. In this case, they are more susceptible to face delays, and sometimes will have connecting flights. For NYCFC, there is the probability they may use a charter flight for San Jose, and fly the rest commercially. This will still lead to many hours of travel and that will increase the chance of travel setbacks. For example, if the Pigeons fly commercially for the Houston game, and the weather returning home causes delays, then it is possible the team can lose a recovery day. Even a two-hour flight to Chicago could turn into a six-hour or more travel day.
The challenges of July and August, and how NYCFC handles them, will test the mental and physical strength of the team. This summer will truly prove whether the Pigeons can fight for first place in the East, and whether they are capable of making a run in the 2020 MLS Cup.