New York City FC has had an average start to the 2023 Major League Soccer season. The team is 2-2-2, and the players have scored six goals total, with one being an own goal from Inter Miami CF. Some games have been great, while other were horrendous. Hence, it is easy to declare the season as average, at least up to this point.
As such, there is room for improvement, and improvement is possible. Supporters have already declared this year to be a rebuilding year, and it may be that case in the end. But this is the beautiful game; anything can happen, and that includes success.
NYCFC can turn this season into a successful one
However, there is room for growth, especially with some of the younger players on the New York City FC roster. Some might expect this year to be a wash, but if the club plays their cards right, and if Nick Cushing brings out the best with his squad, then this unexpected 2023 roster could find success.
There is also room for more signings. Thiago’s departure just opened up another spot via the U22 initiative, and the club can make signings via TAM too. Ideally, the Pigeons would bring in another strong center-back, another winger for depth, and a striker. Of course, the striker is the biggest need, and that signing will likely make the difference in the final third.
Plus, like any season, it is always possible for NYCFC to make the playoffs. Moreover, fans should expect some exciting matches and good play, with some bumps in the road. Where the team finishes will depend on Cushing’s guidance, and who the team brings in along the way. The head coach cannot be stubborn though, and must retire any idea, formation, and/or tactic that does not work at all.
In a season of a change roster wise, Cushing cannot play around like he is choreographing a dance. Instead, he needs to approach this team like he is designing a roller coaster. The minute something does not work, it must be thrown out or put away for another time when there is more stability.
Additionally, NYCFC must make their home fixtures a fortress. As many know, they suffer from road game woes. While that must be turned around, at the very least, the Bronx/Queens team can stay competitive by winning at home. In the past, Yankee Stadium was that very fortress, and it has been difficult for opposing teams to defeat the Pigeons.
Therefore, the players must continue to play the stronger football they play at home. Performances are better, more goals are scored, and confidence tends to be higher. By keeping the home stadiums a fortress, NYCFC could end up in the playoffs. They could also shock the MLS world, and end with a higher finish in the Eastern Conference table as compared to where others think they will finish.
It is too early to declare this season will be a wash. New York City FC can find success. Will it happen? Only time will tell…