The 2023 season did not go well for New York City FC. The roster turnover did not help. Nor did the inability to score. There were too many games where the players played well but could not find the back of the net. The numerous silly mistakes during the first half of the season are another reason for the failures.
Then, there was Nick Cushing. The NYCFC head coach had to work with the roster that he had. Truthfully, the players who were a part of this rebuilding season should have led the club to a mid-table finish. That did not happen, and instead, the Pigeons finished in 11th place, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
Many questioned the head coach and some of his decision-making. There were many Starting XI controversies during the season. Plus, his inability to make a difference via the route of substitutions was notable and blatant.
The record under Cushing is not glorious either. Using the American way of wins, losses, and draws, he is 18-19-19 in Major League Soccer. In all competitions, he is 21-24-19. That is a 32.81 winning percentage. This includes his time as the club’s caretaker in 2022. Additionally, he only had nine wins in MLS this year and ten overall. By some standards, he regressed record-wise, for his wins in 2022 came after Ronny Deila left.
NYCFC should not bring Nick Cushing back in 2024
Cushing’s record with NYCFC is enough to say he should not be back in 2024. It is time for the club to say goodbye, but will they do so? The head coach has been with City Football Group for many years. He had success with Manchester City Women’s Football Club. They might even argue he could only do so much with this year’s roster.
However, there was enough youth and talent that Cushing should have coached to a few more wins. Tactically, he could not get the job done. He struggled to make adjustments to change the course of the game.
Again, his substitution decisions were questioned all year long. Sure, the depth of the squad was not deep. There were too many times when he would choose a player who was not known for making a difference. He would also wait too long to put someone like Talles Magno or Julián Fernández on the pitch.
Of course, the whole situation with Magno puts a sour taste in the mouths of supporters. They and the media knew since the end of 2022 that the Brazilian is a winger and best utilized in that position.
Yet, for the majority of 2023, Cushing and the Front Office were convinced that Magno was a striker. It was crystal clear that was far from the truth, but they continued to spread this disinformation. It was not until the final few games of the season that the forward was utilized in the right way as a winger. The difference in how he played compared to the rest of the year was night and day. Still, NYCFC hurt his development by playing him out of position. It would not be shocking if he tried to leave the club this offseason because of this mismanagement.
The rumors surrounding Maxime Chanot’s departure from the club does not help Cushing either. No one thought the captain would leave, so that was a big surprise this summer. NYCFC claimed it was to go home to France and play in front of his family, but rumors circulated about the possibility he was not happy with Cushing and the direction the club was moving in. If this is true in any manner, then the fact the Pigeons were not loyal to their loyal long-time player is not a good look.
It must be mentioned that there is a caveat with this point of view. Cushing should leave NYCFC, but only if the club has someone or multiple options to replace him. The new coach needs a resume that illuminates success in the past. Currently, a coach with little to no experience leading a team should not be considered.
Nonetheless, enough has been seen to declare that Cushing is not right to lead the Pigeons. Having games where the players played well but did not earn all three points is not enough to give him more chances. If George Steinbrenner was alive and owned the team, then Cushing would not be here by Monday morning. CFG has to take on his spirit and make the right decision.
Many changes must be made within New York City FC. The head coach is the biggest one of them all.