When Nick Cushing took over for Ronny Deila in the summer of 2022, it was understood there would be some adjustments and growing pains. Patience was something fans were okay with at the time.
Then, in 2023, it made sense that Cushing was named the permanent head coach. He deserved the chance to lead the team for a complete season, and expectations were still high. The Englishman had success in the women's game, so it was thought he would find a way to lead a depth-lacking roster to a decent finish.
Alas, that was not the case. NYCFC finished in eleventh place in the Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs. Cushing was under fire by the fan base. Many wanted him to be sacked. After a year and a half, it felt like the time to part ways was now.
However, NYCFC decided they are going to stick with the head coach. The Front Office basically blamed the roster on last year's disappointing campaign. There is no question Cushing's tactics were part of the reason the players struggled. The player selection was limited, but the team could have and should have won a few more matches to make the playoffs and finish in the middle of the table.
NYCFC cannot be patient with Nick Cushing
Despite NYCFC's plan to keep Cushing, there is hope that 2024 will be a better year. The team has yet to make any impact signings, but it is still early. Still, the Pigeons cannot be lackadaisical in the approach to the new year.
In other words, NYCFC cannot be patient with Cushing. This time, he cannot be given the time to find success. The Bronx side has ten home games in the first half of the year, and with their road record woes, he has to lead the team to success before the summer. He must be kept on a tight leash. Failure is not an option.
The NYCFC head coach cannot be given another full season. Therefore, he should be evaluated after ten games. If the team only has a few wins, then he should be sacked. An average record could be acceptable. In that case, he should be evaluated again at the halfway point. Any risk of missing the playoffs should be enough to part ways with Cushing. Again, time is not on his side.
Of course, he might be given the entirety of 2024. NYCFC seems to believe in him. Moreover, there is always a chance another head coach is not available. Nonetheless, a continuation of last season will make anyone other than Cushing a dream option.
The club has to think about the fans as well. After years of mistrust with the stadium, they cannot afford to have an angry fanbase. It would be terrible if the majority is not thrilled with Cushing, and the Pigeons continue to keep him. Success is the only option for a New York team. Admittedly, there have been some terrible seasons amongst others in the tri-state area. That does not mean expectations go down.
Plus, New York fans are not naturally patient. Hence, that is another reason NYCFC cannot be patient with Cushing.
Notably, it would be ideal that the team signs some good players and Cushing does well in 2024. It is not that fans want him to fail. Rather, his time as the head coach has not been great. It is difficult to imagine him as a successful coach. And again, the patience from supporters has mostly vanished. They want him gone.
If Cushing proves he can lead New York City FC, then that is great. If not, then he has to go. The Pigeons cannot be patient anymore.