New York City FC is officially in the middle of their offseason. After playing an unexpected friendly against Inter Miami CF, which they won, no more games are scheduled. The team is ready to focus on 2024.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to put 2023 in the rearview mirror. The challenging season will haunt everyone until success is found again. Moreover, the club must evaluate everything, from the players to Nick Cushing's coaching tactics. While the head coach will not be going anywhere yet, it does not mean discussions regarding tactical changes should not take place.
As always, that brings up questions for NYCFC. There are many, but some are more important to ask. The club must answer these based on decisions before the new season and performances on the pitch.
Here are three questions for NYCFC.
The top 3 questions for NYCFC
Will NYCFC finally stop playing Talles Magno as a striker?
NYCFC fans know that Talles Magno is a winger. This was confirmed when Cushing put him in the striker role in 2022 after Valentín Castellanos left on loan.
However, Magno was forced to play up front and center throughout most of the 2023 season. This hurt his production and development, reducing his impact on the pitch.
When he did play in his natural winger position, Magno was a different player. Yes, he had to work back up to his known ability after his performance level declined. There was no question he was meant to run up the left side of the pitch with the flexibility of moving around the attacking third.
NYCFC should not start or even move Magno into the striker role in 2024. Hopefully, the misuse of the Brazilian will not cause him to seek a move elsewhere.
Will NYCFC sign another striker?
NYCFC did not sign a striker until the summer. When Mounsef Bakrar first came onto the scene, he started well. Yet, he was still adjusting to his new team and league. He did score four goals in all competitions, which is not bad for someone who joined over the summer. Still, the number of missed opportunities was extremely high.
Regardless of how Bakrar performed, the Pigeons need to sign another striker. The club may try to find another loan deal for Gabriel Segal. That would cause the Algerian to be the only one on the roster.
The question is, will they sign another striker to compete for the starting role? Based on how they handled the 2023 season, it is questionable. Moreover, will they aim to sign a depth player or starter?
There is no issue if NYCFC wants to remain patient and bring someone in who could become a star in the league. Regardless, another striker on the roster is necessary before the start of the new season.
Is Nick Cushing truly the right option?
The majority of NYCFC supporters would like to see the team start fresh with a new head coach. Cushing has done poorly since taking over for Ronny Deila and is the first coach since 2015 to lead the team to a non-playoff finish.
Despite that, the club is still sticking with Cushing. The idea is that the roster was why the team failed this season. They believe Cushing can take the Pigeons to the promised land with the right players and resources. Arguably, the players available throughout the season should have at least finished mid-table in the Eastern Conference.
Plus, Cushing has lost most of the fanbase. They do not trust him, nor do they believe he is the man for the job. Sometimes, a fresh change is better than holding onto someone who has not seen success.
New York City FC will ideally have a tight leash on their head coach. It would also be smart to begin searching for a possible replacement. Of course, it would be incredible if Cushing proved everybody wrong. Alas, that is hard to see.