YanOur date with destiny is on the horizon…
Yesterday, our pundits’ pool picked out their Newcomer, Goal and Game of the Regular Season, today we finish off with their Player, Young Player and Moment of 2017.
Ahead of our MLS Playoffs Eastern Conference semifinal, let’s take stock on the 34 games we’ve enjoyed so far this year…
Moment of the Season
Roberto Abromowitz (@RobAbramowitz)
2-1 win over the streaking Chicago Fire after Yangel Herrera got a red card early in the game.
Christian Araos (@christian_araos)
The 2–1 win vs the Chicago Fire. An intelligent, composed victory against a strong opponent while playing with ten men for about 80 minutes. No other moment reflects on NYCFC's season as vividly as that performance.
Glenn Crooks (@GlennCrooks)
When David Villa leapt into the arms of Patrick Vieira after the final whistle of a 3-2 home win over their rivals, the New York Red Bulls.
The win guaranteed that City would win the season series against a team that had owned the Derby in City’s first two seasons - and Villa was brilliant scoring his first MLS hat trick to lead the way – plus it was my birthday!
Ian Paul Joy (@JOYPAULIAN)
September 16th 2017 - The day that James Sands made his debut as the 1st ever homegrown player for the club at 17 years old.
Our club is about winning but also about creating a positive future and the work the club has done off the field has been incredible.
In the community the club continues to give New York City a real buzz. By handing James Sands a debut at such a young age should inspire more kids around the New York City area to work hard and dream big because anything is possible.
John Rojas (@jrojas75)
David's celebration after the 3-2 win at Yankee Stadium over RBNY (August 6th). His jump on Patrick's arms and the long embrace between the two was a clear message to the fans that winning the series of Hudson Derby this 2017 meant for the players and technical staff the same as for the fans.
Young Player of the Season
At only 19 years of age, he is already a legend in Venezuela scoring goals at every National Team level, without even being a forward.
Strong, physical but talented with the distribution, and a great deal of heart, fans will only pray that his time in NYCFC will last, but whenever he flies to new light blues' fields, his contribution will be remembered in NYC
NYCFC was 9-2-3 in matches that Herrera started and in one of the two losses he left with an injury in the 54th minute with NYCFC leading, 2-1 at Vancouver. When asked who from his team he would pick to be in the trenches with – without hesitation Patrick Vieira chose Herrera his mirror image on the field for NYCFC.
Ian Paul Joy
Even though he didn’t make as many starts as we all would have liked. His partnership with Alex Ring in midfield completes our team.
This kid has huge potential and has no limit to how far he can go in this game. Sometimes I forget he is only 19 years old because he plays with such an experienced style it looks like he has been playing as a pro for 10 years already.
If he can stay fit and disciplined, he could be the key to us going far in the playoffs.
Yangel Herrera is a really close second but Harrison doubled his production and become a versatile, reliable attacking option for Patrick Vieira.
Player of the Season
Ian Paul Joy
Certainly not the obvious choice for most people but for me he is irreplaceable. Simply down to the fact that I don’t think David scores his goals, Jack can’t torment defenders or Maxi doesn’t have as many assists if Alexander Ring is not in the team.
He is a player that does not get the headlines that he deserves but most certainly is one of the first names on the team sheet. A true competitor that is so difficult to find in the world's game, I am so glad he plays for our Club and our City. A leader.
Despite an upgrade in personnel at many vital positions, there is little question that the captain is the team’s most valuable member. The club’s goal-scoring drought coincided with the absence of Villa due to injury.
He produced in the vital moments – the hat trick in the win against the Red Bulls and two goals in the Decision Day draw with Columbus to secure a spot in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
He became just the second player in MLS history to have multiple seasons with 20 or more goals.
30 games, another season with 20 or more goals. No reds and only four yellows.
He's the captain inside and outside the field. His contribution earned him a comeback to the Spain National Team and his short absent because of an injury was really felt, not only on the way the team played, but on results too.
He's had a season as good as last season reaching twenty goals while adding to his assist total with nine on the year.
League-wide, it's clear his career will be compared with other Designated Players but for NYCFC his career will be foundational as both player and ambassador.
OVER TO YOU: What are your takes? Does Villa deserve to clinch MVP again? How far will NYCFC go in the MLS Playoffs? Tweet @NYCFC with the hashtag #MakeItHere to join the debate.