Three weeks in to the 2016 season, and we are already starting to sing the same tune. New York City FC has not looked sharp in their past two outings, falling lazy against Toronto FC after squandering a two goal lead in a 2-2 draw. They also failed to even notch a goal in last week’s Friday night match against fellow expansion club Orlando City SC in a 1-0 blanking in front of the home crowd for both matches. Is it a cause for concern?
From the outside, this team has undergone a massive redesign from last year. A new head coach, a fresh set of faces and some departures. Gone are the final months of last season where everyone had a comfort level that is higher than right now. But it’s not overly worrisome. Teams take time to get themselves in the right gear and mirroring the start of last year, we are caught in another period of that.
Through the first three matches of last year, we are at the exact same record before embarking on that dreadful 10-match winless skid that put a huge damper on things. In that skid, had NYCFC come away with just two or three more wins against some key opponents, we might have actually saw a playoff berth in the inaugural season. Turning back to now, NYCFC waits patiently for the New England Revolution to come into town in an effort to right the wrongs and try and steer the club back to a winning path.
Let’s take a look at some overreactions:
Overreaction: NYCFC has been doomed from the start.
Reality: This team is still, unfortunately, going through growing pains. With plenty of new faces dotting the roster, it was a hard sell from the get go that this club is going to win from the start. That statement was rebutted a bit with a strong showing in the 4-3 victory against Chicago to start the campaign. The past two weeks have not been ideal outcomes, but it’s the footnotes of each match that show a strong case against this.
In the Toronto match, NYCFC had a huge possession lead over the Reds and even a two goal lead that should have been preserved, however, some miscues and change in attacking philosophy ended up hurting the club in the end. That and a superb player in Sebastian Giovinco rattling off two goals doesn’t help.
Against Orlando, NYCFC yet again controlled possession and pace of the game, it was just one small misstep and lacking defensive play on the only goal that proved to be the killer for this club.
More from Skyscraper Blues
- Match Recap: NYCFC Beat New England in PKs, Advance to Eastern Conference Finals
- NYCFC’s triumph over the New England Revolution has definitively saved Ronny Deila’s job
- FT: NER 2 (3), NYCFC 2 (5)
- How NYCFC Got to the Eastern Conference Semifinal
- Changing the Narrative: What a Win in New England Would Mean for NYCFC
Overreaction: Jack Harrison is a bust already.
Reality: Believe it or not, I’ve read it. People are already pointing at this kid and labeling him as a bust when we have yet to see any action from him at this higher level of play. In all honestly, I support Ptricak Vieira‘s idea that Harrison will play, but only when he is fully rehabbed and in full form. There is no need to rush what could be a sure thing, you sink ships that way. Harrison is a dynamic talent that this club could use, but we have a bolstered midfield and attacking front that, when the time comes, he will add to it and bolster it even more.
When will he join the squad? No one knows for sure, but let’s stand behind the young guy, wish him the best and he will return the favor. I’d hate to see his talent overshadowed by a demand for something that isn’t there at the moment.
Overreaction: Kwadwo Poku is as good as gone at this point.
Reality: This could be a real thing, I’m not 100% sure. No one for sure knows what is going on in the highly public affair that seems to be the NYCFC vs. Kwadwo Poku. Are we really going to believe that everything is fine? No. By now, we should have seen some glimpse of action that #88 brings to the field, but the absentee has drawn more ire than actual analysis.
Last week, with the Blues facing a 1-0 loss, chants of “We Want Poku” rang through Yankee Stadium, and ultimately, our TV screens. From the end of the first half, Twitter was lit up with tweets of Poku-this and Poku-that, but he didn’t quite fit the bill for the situation that was faced.
Control was the blunt tone of the match, something that Poku hasn’t quite grasped yet. Poku is the punch that would have been great against Toronto and yeah, it would have been good against Orlando, but Vieira opting for Patrick Mullins was the clear cut choice for this match.
Mullins has a very good awareness for the play that unfolds around him. He is analytical and concise with how he changes the pace of the game. Forget run-and-gun, we needed to slow the match down and open up space, something that plagued the team from the beginning.
Don’t get this wrong, I love Poku as much as the next person. He is always a welcome player in my eyes and I hope we do get to see him at this point. Plus, if Vieira really didn’t want him here, he would have already gotten rid of him.
I would look deeper but this situation is being overblown by a long shot, Vieira is here to create prosperity and Poku is the key to all of it, but it’s all in due time.
What are your thoughts? Check back as I do more of these overreactions over the course of the season here, on SkyscraperBlues.com