NOT CITY SLICK­ERs

DANNY RUST re­ports on a fledg­ling club strug­gling to meet ex­pec­ta­tions de­spite their star names...

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS -

New York City’s stum­bles

City un­til the end of the Premier League cam­paign, and only join up with NYC FC in July – four months into the MLS sea­son. To make mat­ters worse, Lam­pard sus­tained an in­jury only a mat­ter of days af­ter join­ing up with his new team-mates. The for­mer Chelsea midfielder is also strug­gling to get to grips with the MLS, hav­ing made three ap­pear­ances by the start of Septem­ber and fail­ing to score or cre­ate a goal – two traits that made Lam­pard im­press at West Ham United, Chelsea and Manch­ester City. Pirlo has failed to show his worth so far, too. Hav­ing made his de­but in a 5-3 win against Or­lando City, he has shown glimpses of what he can do. His pass­ing has been fan­tas­tic at times, but at other stages he has been too slow on the ball. There have been a num­ber of sug­ges­tions as to why NYC FC have not taken the MLS by storm. New York City FC coach Jason Kreis has not been afraid to call the com­mit­ment of his play­ers into ques­tion. Af­ter a home de­feat to Colum­bus Crew in Au­gust,

Kreis said: “I know the coach­ing staff cares an aw­ful lot about this club and the job we’re at­tempt­ing to do. I’m not so sure all the play­ers do.”

Lam­pard, how­ever, dis­agrees with his coach, as he claimed: “We’re not get­ting the re­sults and the con­sis­tency, but, for me, it’s not for the want of try­ing.”

One thing that is for sure is that NYC FC des­per­ately need to build their own sta­dium, rather than con­tinue to use Yan­kee Sta­dium – the home of the world fa­mous New York Yan­kees base­ball side. The club is yet to find a site to build their own sta­dium, although it will not be an easy task af­ter pledg­ing to build the sta­dium in the city of New York. This means that the club is likely to re­main at Yan­kee Sta­dium for many years to come. For ob­vi­ous rea­sons,Yan­kee Sta­dium was built for base­ball, not soc­cer. As a re­sult, fit­ting a soc­cer pitch into the base­ball sta­dium shape was ex­tremely dif­fi­cult. In fact, the soc­cer pitch at Yan­kee Sta­dium is only 68 yards wide, mean­ing there is a lack of width when­ever NYC FC play at home.

With the ma­jor­ity of the play-off berths in the Eastern Con­fer­ence all but sealed, it looks highly un­likely that NYC FC will make it into the post-sea­son stages. But sup­port has not fal­tered, with a sell-out crowd of 30,000 be­ing in at­ten­dance for their fix­ture with Colum­bus Crew at the end of Au­gust. Manch­ester City’s bil­lion­aire own­ers may be heav­ily in­volved in the work­ings of NYC FC but the MLS is one place where money isn’t ev­ery­thing. MLS guide­lines mean that salary caps ex­ist and each fran­chise are only al­lowed three des­ig­nated play­ers.

The newly-formed fran­chise may have had a less than con­vinc­ing first sea­son, but the fu­ture still looks bright. Mov­ing into a new sta­dium is the next big step for NYC FC, but un­til that hap­pens there will be a lin­ger­ing un­cer­tainty hang­ing over the New York­ers.

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