Even though the night didn’t go the way we wanted it to, Sunday November, 6 was an historic night in the Bronx as MLS Playoffs came to New York City for the very first time.
Here are five things we learned from the defeat to Toronto FC…
We Are One
There wasn’t so much as a dropped syllable in the “Come on, New York” chant when Sebastian Giovinco netted Toronto’s fifth goal on Sunday as our supporters sang on regardless.
This loyal, unwavering support is as fundamental to this team as anything which happens with the ball on the Yankee Stadium turf and the songs were still being sung hours after full time on the subway lines snaking away from the Bronx to all five boroughs of the city.
Ever since our first game, we’ve felt the full force of our incredible fanbase which carried us into our first Playoffs campaign and last night was no different, irrespective of the scoreline.
It’s a factor that no-one takes for granted and already we can’t wait to do it all again together in 2017.
NYCFC reached the MLS Playoffs for the first time in just our second year of existence, in Patrick Vieira’s first season at the helm.
To put that into perspective, this is Toronto’s ninth MLS season and it is the first time the Canadian outfit had reached this stage of post-season.
Nothing worth having comes easy, so instead of wallowing in a painful defeat, the team’s efforts over the course of the whole year shouldn’t be forgotten as we reflect on a 2016 campaign characterized by attacking, attractive football and a catalogue of famous victories.
Going for Broke
If there was any measure of calculated risk in our approach to Sunday’s game, the opening goal after five minutes completely altered the complexion of the tie.
With NYCFC then needing at least four goals to progress, Vieira’s men had no choice but to go all out and Toronto were able to take full advantage.
While the home side never gave up and kept battling, it was to be Toronto’s night and they progress to an all-Canadian Eastern Conference final against Montreal.
Despite last night’s defeat, NYCFC could be set for CONCACAF Champions League football for the very first time in 2017.
If any team other than Seattle win the MLS Cup, our qualification will be confirmed for next season’s competition which will give us even more to look forward to when we return from the close season break.
We’ll Be Back
Finally, a word on the tie’s victors...
Patrick was magnanimous in defeat in his post-match press conference, admitting that Toronto were the better side over the two legs.
Vieira said: “We still have to work really hard to build up a strong team – there is a gap between Toronto and ourselves. The best team won and that’s why they deserve to go through to the next round.”
The Frenchman also promised that we’ll be back stronger next season.
He added: “The fans were fantastic today – I promise we will come back next season with more determination and hunger to do better next season.”