Here are three bold predictions for New York City FC in 2021
On April 17, New York City FC will embark on its seventh season in Major League Soccer. The 2015 expansion side has had some success in the regular season, including their first place Eastern Conference finish in 2019. Still, failure in the playoffs and issues off the pitch have left fans disappointed and hungry for more. For a team predominantly owned by City Football Group, zero trophies is extremely infuriating.
Sadly, between the past seasons and the current roster, expectations are low for the 2021 season. Head coach Ronny Deila has yet to prove himself, and patience is thin amongst fans. Hence, NYCFC has a lot of work to do, both before, and then during, the season.
Despite everything, no one truly knows how the season will play out. The Pigeons might even surprise fans, and the league. But what occurs will depend on a chain of reactions, from signings, how starters and young players play, and how Deila leads the team.
So, with the current status of the club, here are three bold predictions for the 2021 season.
3. Héber will return with a bang
When Héber tore his ACL back in September, New York City FC knew their striker would be out for a while. The Brazilian can return anywhere from June to August, but will still miss a good chunk of the season. Yet, when he does return, it will be with a bang. That is why one bold prediction is this: Héber will score at least 10 goals in 2021.
Now, since the 29 year old will be out until the summer, it may be difficult to process this idea. Then again, it is not as far-fetched as one would think. Remember, Héber scored 15 goals in 22 regular season appearances in 2019. Then, like many during the 2020 season, he struggled before the ACL injury.
Unfortunately, the interruption and shortening of the season made the year unconventional and atypical. Plus, like many leagues around the world, unexpected results, both positive and negative, occurred for players and teams. So, Héber scoring just one regular season goal does not mean he cannot score anymore. Instead, he had an off season. Although, he was still an essential player on the pitch, and influenced games regardless of the lack of goals.
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Undoubtedly, fans know what the striker is capable of. They know the Brazilian always gives his all, and will aim to score. Therefore, after struggling in 2020, and then missing time due to injury, Héber will be famished and driven to find the back of the net. The want and need for goals will lead to numerous attempts, and eventually, he will find himself scoring again.
Moreover, as long as there is no major COVID-19 outbreak among the team, then there should be no interruptions to NYCFC’s season. As a result, a normal season, and then Héber’s return to full health, will increase the striker’s confidence. His physical abilities should be close or back to normal, and fans should expect to see the 2019 player they grew to love, or at least close to it.
Héber’s drive to score will lead him to score at least ten goals. For some, the prediction might be out there, but when one looks at his physical abilities and likely emotional state, then it is highly likely. No matter what, the leading goal scorer from 2019 will be back, and he will be a vital difference maker for NYCFC.