Goals still remain a concern for NYCFC in 2024

-NYCFC's preseason so far keeps the concern about the goals alive

-Will they finally find their goal-scoring boots?

NYCFC / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC is in the middle of their preseason. So far, they played four matches and will play one later today. Record wise, the team stands at 0-2-2.

Notably, there have been preseasons where the Pigeons did not do well but still finished in the top four at the end of the season. The results tend to not matter, especially when younger players and those who would not get much playing time play in the friendlies.

The preseason should be more about how a team plays. It gives the coaching staff time to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses. It enables the media and supporters to do the same as well. So, after four games, the largest concern regarding NYCFC is the goal scoring.

One of the main issues in 2023 was that the Pigeons had too many regular season matches, 26, where they scored one or none. There were times when they were an offensive threat but failed to put the ball into the back of the net. This caused the team to score just 35 goals in the regular season. Only the Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC scored less.

Goals remain a concern for NYCFC

Admittedly, the lack of a solid striker last season did not help. But other players could have scored more with the attacking effort. For example, Talles Magno is one player that should have had a higher goal tally. Playing him out of position caused a reduction in his regular season goals in 2023, for he went from seven in 2022 to four.

Moreover, NYCFC has evidence that highlights they should have scored more. The Pigeons were 15th in shots taken, with 419 during the regular season. Then, they were 12th in shots on target, with 152. Some of those shots lacked effort and were easy saves. Nevertheless, one would expect the players to be in the middle of the table with goals scored and not third to last.

Meanwhile, the Bronx side has only scored four goals in their four preseason games. They lost 1-0 against Barcelona S.C. in their first preseason game. That is arguably acceptable since they played their first 90 minutes against another team. But then, against Major League Soccer teams, they lost 3-1 to the Philadelphia Union, drew 2-2 against the San Jose Earthquakes, and drew 1-1 against Portland Timbers FC.

In three of the four preseason matches, they scored one or no goals. Plus, they tied twice, and arguably, they should have scored more in the Portland friendly. These trends are similar to the 2023 campaign, so it is concerning as of today. They have the talent where they should be scoring more.

It is still the preseason, and NYCFC can click together early in the season. That does not mean the concerns about the scoring disappear.