Rest, Recovery, & Rotation
While most MLS teams are just kicking off their slate of competitive fixtures for the year this weekend, New York City’s Football Club has been putting in that work.
After a long and arduous preseason, the Boys in Blue got right to work, dispatching A.D. San Carlos in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 by an aggregate score of 6-3 across the two legs.
New Head Coach Ronny Deila was impressed to see his squad, which is still working through preseason fitness levels, improve defensively in the second leg, registering a clean sheet against a team all-out attacking for 90 minutes with their tournament lives at stake. And all this at a preseason fitness level, to boot.
🎙️ | “To score goals is the hardest part in football, to take away chances is easier. I think we were much more organized in the midfield. We were very good to know when we should press high and be tough and aggressive, and when we should drop down across the center." - RD #NYCFC pic.twitter.com/Yd4OD39Pvi— New York City FC (@NYCFC) February 27, 2020
Expect the squad to continue to look stronger match over match, as both fitness levels rise and familiarity sets in with the new coaching staff for another run at MLS Cup.
Happy 25th Anniversary. We’ve only been here for six together, but this weekend marks a league-wide celebration of just how far we’ve come.
A great sign: NYC return almost the entire squad that finished Top of the Eastern Conference last season. So with these guys back, and few key experienced additions to all levels of the field like Gedion Zelalem and Gudmundur Thórarinsson, the City Boys will most certainly be back in the conversation for trophies on all fronts.
Second Bite of the Apple
Héber was rested vs. A.D. San Carlos on Wednesday night, but he isn’t the only returning player looking forward to continuing upward trajectory after settling in well last season. Romanian Designated Player Alexandru Mitriță returns primed for a big year in his second full season in the City, and young American midfielder Keaton Parks made major waves by making his City move permanent after playing on loan from SL Benfica last year.
Consistency in MLS is key, and while no one ever questioned this group of player’s togetherness, it is the combination of more repetitions together, plus exciting tweaks in direction from Ronny Deila, that has players and fans alike ready to put some serious points on the board.
Our Squad vs. Your Crew
Our opening week opposition are looking tough in their second season under former MLS Cup Champion winning manager Caleb Porter, who has brought his former MLS Cup winning target striker from his Timbers Days, Fanendo Adi, into the fold.
Porter has also brought in U.S. International midfielder Darlington Nagbe, from Atlanta United, another one of his former players from his days stalking the sidelines in the Pacific Northwest.
These additions join an already strong core that will look to mitigate the departure of club legend Federico Higuaín, who made magic for the Crew from 2012-2019.
Start as you mean to go on…
No MLS expert will tell you to focus on the results this weekend, or even for the next few weekends, as the competition has a long and winding history of slow starts and late playoff pushes all the way to hoisting MLS Cup. But this league is certainly evolving, and for a team pledging to fight on all fronts for all available trophies, it will be important to carry the good momentum from the start of the SCCL campaign through to league play now.
If you can’t join the Road Blues in Ohio, be sure to find your fellow fans on the couch or at the pub, and support your city as we kickoff what stands to be our most exciting season yet!
COME ON, NEW YORK.