New York City FC: 2020 Preview – Conference semi-finals again?

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New York City FC

CARSON, CA – MAY 11: Maximiliano Moralez #10 of New York City celebrates his goal during the Los Angeles Galaxy’s MLS match against New York City FC at the Dignity Health Sports Park on May 11, 2019 in Carson, California. NYCFC won the match 2-0 (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)

With less than a month to go until the start of the 2020 MLS campaign, we are taking a look at how each team has evolved since last year, and their chances this term. This time, we look at New York City FC.

For the first time in their short history in Major League Soccer, New York City FC topped the Eastern Conference, and with it, they took the bye in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs.

However, despite topping the Conference by six points come to the end of the regular season, they would fall at their first hurdle in the post-season. They lost to Toronto FC at home in the Conference Semifinals, as Alejandro Pozuelo scored a penalty in the final minute to send the Sky Blues out.

Related Story: New York City FC: Best-rated Starting XI of 2019

The club also succeeded to an extent in the U.S. Open Cup in 2019, making it through to the quarter-finals, after defeating North Carolina FC and D.C. United. However, they lost out on a penalty shoot-out to Orlando City SC in the last eight, ending their domestic cup run.

QUEENS, NY – OCTOBER 23: Alexandru Mitrita #28 of New York City with tattoos on his neck during 2019 MLS Cup Major League Soccer Eastern Conference Semifinal match between New York City FC and Toronto FC at Citi Field on October 23, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Toronto FC won the match with a score of 2 to 1 and advances to the Eastern Conference Finals. (Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)

Best Performers

Five of the New York City FC’s best XI in 2019 all averaged more than 7/10 in their regular-season performances, including the entirety of the front three. All three of their main attacking options scored double-digit goals in 2019, tallying 38 strikes between them, along with adding another 14 assists.

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Alexandru Mitrita just came home as the side’s top forward, scoring twelve times in 29 appearances, along with three assists, in his first season in the league. Brazilian forward Heber was the top scorer with 15 goals, while Valentin Castellanos bagged 11 times.

Despite all three bagging double-digit goals, it was Maxi Moralez who was the outstanding performer for New York City FC in 2019, racking up 20 assists over the course of the regular season. Ronald Matarrita was the fifth man to average more than 7/10 across the campaign.

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