It is not exactly a secret that NYCFC is having a not so stellar start to the season. In some of these cases you can write it off as early season bad luck and have faith there will be improvement and a righting of the ship. This is not looking like one of those cases. I’m seeing a ship that looks more like Christopher Columbus’ little known 4th vessel the Santa Tortilla. Flour doesn’t float. And these NYCFC problems do not appear easily fixable. I may literally be able to get to 99 here but in the interest of the sanity of all party’s involved I’m putting a hard limit at 5.
1) A Pitch Is One: playing on a pint sized pitch for half your matches sends the mindsets of this team for a whirlwind ride of space mismanagement, timing issues, and touch problems. You can see it in Brillant’s eyes in an away game when he looks over his shoulder and theres 20 more yards of field he forgot about and 3 guys attacking it.
2) Shot Conversion Rate Of A Missionary on FSU Campus: NYCFC averages the most shots per game and 3rd most shots on target per game. Ordinarily you’d like this to translate into more goals, especially when the focus of the manager seems to be all on offense and hey forget that d-word who needs it. LA Galaxy and Colorado Rapids have the same shots on target per game average and have 8 and 6 more goals respectively. In general their attack seems more than capable of creating quality chances and playing nice soccer. And we really like what David Villa brings to the table for NYCFC just convert more of your chances.
3) The D-Word: there seems to be a distinct lack of awareness from the team when it comes to defending. We’ve seen everything from midfield not tracking back, defenders letting attackers run free in the 18, defenders simply on the wrong side of attackers which is quite possibly the first thing you learn when taking up the sport, and poor goalie positioning. A lot of this has to do with partnerships not being formed, and the constant changing of playing field size messing up their spatial relations. But at the heart of it seems a genuine lack of simply understanding what to do. This is where a team leader needs to sack up and not let this nonsense go unnoticed. If I can find the issues with a MLS Live subscription and a Dell laptop then the crack squad of video experts at NYCFC should be able to also.
4) No Pirlo No Party: this is obviously a new phenomenon but Pirlo was left out of the team in the last match under a voluntary decision from Patrick Vieira. This is like if it were 75 and sunny out and you left the Enzo in the garage for your Chevy Volt. If you have the Enzo you drive the Enzo. We will see how this pans out I just dont want to see Vieira making a habit of this.
5) The Soccer Education of Patrick Vieira: definitely one of the best to play at his position. And he did it at some of the top clubs in the world. Arsenal, Juventus, and Inter with by far most of his appearances coming for Arsenal between 1996 and 2005. His first year there also happened to be the first year at Arsenal for their current manager Arsene Wenger. Two possible problems here: 1 I’ve been hearing a lot of talk from Vieira that sounds very Arsene like (“we dominated but didnt win”, “we dominated but gave goals away”, “i think we dominated and controlled the game”, “i think we dominated but weren’t ruthless enough in front of the net”) and 2 being schooled at the highest level of the game isn’t necessarily a great thing for a manager in the MLS. I believe this is the most overcome-able problem because he has a great mind for the game and will hopefully realize certain tactics need to be altered. But if we can just go ahead and identify the portion of his brain where Arsene has incepted him and remove it asap that’d be helpful for everyone.