The 2024 season is less than a month away, and New York City FC is preparing for their tenth year of play. 2023 was, unfortunately, a poor season, for the Pigeons missed the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Therefore, the upcoming year has to be different. Failure is not an option.
However, some fans find it difficult to see 2024 in any kind of positive light. Part of the reason is head coach Nick Cushing.
Many thought NYCFC should have parted ways with the Englishman at the end of the previous season. Arguably, the roster was weak compared to previous years. But there is the belief that a proper head coach would have led the young side to a mid-table finish. There was enough talent to do so.
Meanwhile, the roster is slowly improving. More signings are expected over the next few months that could turn the NYCFC attack into a reliable one. Yet, the negative sentiment surrounding Cushing remains. There is the belief he will hold the young squad back.
Fans lack confidence in Nick Cushing
If one scrolls through social media, one will still see the “Cushing out” posts by supporters. Even though the season ended slightly better, the thought that it was time for the head coach to leave NYCFC was especially prominent at the end of the season. Then, the Front Office blamed the lack of depth on the roster as why the club struggled in 2023.
It was Cushing’s tactics and stubbornness that often plagued the team. The idea that Talles Magno is a striker seriously harmed the attack. One saw at the end of the year, when the Brazilian played in his natural winger position, that things could have been slightly different after he soared in the final few games.
His substitution choices throughout the year were constantly questioned. There were times when an attacking player was desperately needed, and Cushing would send on a defensive-minded midfielder. There were matches where NYCFC needed a spark, and the coach would not make a change. Yes, the bench was not deep. More times than not, there were always a few players who could have made a difference.
In addition, supporters were not fond of how he spoke after losses. He would always say that Pigeons were close to finding their winning ways. Things were working in training. His positivity was sometimes too positive, which put a bad taste in many mouths.
As a result, the signings are exciting, but that does not take away the failures of the previous season and the fact Cushing remains as the head coach. Truthfully, a change should have been made due to the lack of trust by fans. Maxime Chanot’s sudden summer departure did not help either, for there were rumors there was strife between the captain and coach. The club line was that he left to be with family, but his early social media activity said otherwise.
Admittedly, the sentiment toward Cushing can change as the preseason progresses. Time is ticking, and New York City FC supporters do not have the time or patience to give in 2024. There is a reason supporters lack confidence in the head coach.