The 2022 season for New York City FC can best be described as a year of ups and downs. The Pigeons won another trophy and finished in third place in the Eastern Conference. But they were also streaky, and had another summer of hard questions surrounded the team and Nick Cushing. They did glue together in time for the playoffs, and made it to the Eastern Conference finals, but unfortunately lost to the Philadelphia Union.
During the offseason, there was a mass exodus of players, including stars and fan favorites like, but not limited to, Alexander Callens, Sean Johnson, and Maxi Moralez. The criticism from supporters was immense, and rightfully so, for it did not make sense that so many players left after a decent season. New signings are slowly being made, but the disappointment of having to say goodbye to fan favorites is still there.
Therefore, between last season and the changes in the offseason, it is difficult to make predictions regarding the team. That does not mean one does not try though.
So, here are three predictions for NYCFC’s 2023 season.
3. New York City FC will barely make the playoffs, or not at all
This offseason, New York City FC made quite a few roster decisions, and many departures were not favored by the supporters. Plus, some of the signings were clearly made for roster depth purposes, and there are questions surrounding some of the younger players who might get more playing time, or make the jump from NYCFC II. There is no doubt the current roster is not at the competitive level as seen in previous years.
Hence, the first prediction is this: the Pigeons will barely make the playoffs, or not at all. They will either be on the outside looking in, or take the last or second to last spot to compete in the postseason.
The main reason is the roster. There were multiple changes in the offseason, and many of the talented players that left or were allowed to leave were not properly replaced. Furthermore, the new players coming in will need time to adjust to Cushing’s style of play, and they need time to gel with their new teammates. The squad is also younger, so it is likely growing pains will be a consistent theme in 2023.
Additionally, Cushing is only entering his first full year as Head Coach. The players who are returning were still adjusting to his style of play as the previous year ended, and are still adjusting. Yes, he was a member of the coaching staff before his promotion, but he still made changes and tweaks to the style under Ronny Deila.
Now, this is not to say NYCFC will not bring in new signings that give the competitive edge that is desperately needed. But at this time, with the current knowledge of the roster, New York City FC will struggle during this season.