2017 was full of surprises. Fidget spinners became the fad of the summer, Bitcoin skyrocketed in value, and New York City FC played a “home game” in Hartford, Conn. If I had told you on December 31, 2016 that any of these things would happen in the coming year, would you have believed me? Maybe. Maybe not.
But let no one tell you that the future can’t be predicted. We have tapped into our inner Nostradamus and we know exactly what the next 12 months will have in store for the Boys in Blue. So strap in and get ready for some divine knowledge.
Here are five things that will definitely happen for New York City FC in 2018:
Alex Ring will score his first MLS goal
Believe it or not, Alex Ring came within inches of scoring NYCFC’s first goal of the season. Shortly after going down a goal by way of a header by none other than Cyle Larin, Ring found himself one-on-one with Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik who made a phenomenal save to keep the one-goal advantage intact en route to securing a 1-0 victory in the teams’ first-ever matchup at Orlando City Stadium.
The Finnish midfielder would have many more chances on goal throughout the 2017 season. But many goalposts and close calls later, the Ringmaster is still without a tally in his MLS career thus far.
It’s not like Ring is incapable of scoring. Look at this screaming free kick he made for the Finnish national team over the summer:
It’s only a matter of time before Ring hits the back of the net while wearing the famous Etihad shirt. And I expect a crowd reaction of Stone Cold proportions when he does it in 2018.
David Villa will score a lot of goals
If David Villa is indeed aging, it’s pretty damn hard to tell. In three seasons with New York City, the GuajeGod has appeared in 94 games, has scored 63 goals, and taught New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long how to do the Dougie.
Yep, that’s a 35-year-old striker making defenders ten years his junior look like wind chimes during a hurricane.
And despite the fact that the Spanish legend will be 36 the next time he steps foot on the Etihad Pitch, odds are that he will turn in another MVP-caliber season in his last contracted year with the Bronx Blues. You can take that to the bank.
Maxime Chanot and Alex Callens will be the best CB duo in MLS
Prior to his season-ending injury in August, Maxime Chanot was arguably the best defender in the league. The Luxembourg international was even ranked as high as fourth overall in June by way of the Audi Player Index, the best of any defender to make the list during that period.
Alex Callens also proved vital to New York City’s 2017 success. Having played every minute of every game until being unceremoniously sent off during the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Columbus, the Peruvian was the iron man of City’s back four and consistently found ways to contribute on the pitch, even on offense (he netted two goals over the course of the season).
Should all go according to plan and both avoid injury in 2018, Chanot and Callens (double-C nickname coming soon) will be the premier defensive duo in MLS.
NYCFC will play a home game on the moon
It is my professional opinion that when the New York Yankees inevitably make the playoffs and win the World Series in 2018, NYCFC will be forced to look elsewhere for a venue to host a must-win matchup with playoff implications. And what better place to do that then the selenic setting of the Earth’s moon for the first-ever game of lunar football?
In case you haven’t noticed, Sheikh Mansour is straight up ballin’! And what else for a wealthy football enthusiast to do than be the first team owner to put his club in outer space? Oxygen and gravity be damned, we’re making history people!
In all seriousness though, I fully expect NYCFC to suit up in the bowels of an arena that isn’t Yankee Stadium in 2018. Whether it be as close as Citi Field or as far as...wherever, this year surely won’t go anywhere as smoothly as the team’s first two seasons.
NYCFC will win the 2018 MLS Cup
After two straight years of making it to the dance but forgetting their date in the limo, 2018 will be the year that the Boys in Blue hoist the MLS Cup trophy and reign supreme when it comes to the North American soccer landscape.
The team has made all the right moves this offseason, whether it be shedding dead weight or pursuing younger players to bolster their attack. There are no excuses this time around — it’s championship or bust for Vieira’s squad next season.