Same song, same dance.
New York City FC embarked upon Harrison, New Jersey on Wednesday to take on the New York Red Bulls in an effort to erase the nightmares of previous US Open Cup disappointments. But the Boys in Blue had no such luck. City would lose to the Bulls in a lopsided 4-0 contest.
For the fourth straight year, NYCFC has been unceremoniously dumped out of the USOC — all four opponents being local rivals. As a matter of fact, City has not even scored a goal in the competition since Kwadwo Poku scored a brace in their first-ever USOC entry against the New York Cosmos in 2015. That is four matches over the course of as many years, with only two goals to show for it.
As a die-hard City fan, that is not only an embarrassing statistic to look at, it’s flat out unacceptable. City Football Group — majority owners of NYCFC — have a seemingly unlimited amount of resources at their disposal. Even in a league with stringent roster rules like MLS, there is no excuse for not being equipped to at least look somewhat competent in a mid-week cup game where most teams play either their kids or players who have otherwise been buried in the depth chart.
The biggest problem with this is that NYCFC currently has nowhere to play their kids, a fct that manager Patrick Vieira touched upon in the post-game press conference. Despite having an affiliation with USL club San Antonio FC, the latter is mostly a stand-alone club with no real obligation to play NYCFC contracted players. Currently, SAFC only employs one NYCFC player — goalkeeper Andre Rawls, who joined on loan after City drafted Jeff Caldwell in the 2018 draft.
Until an actual B-team is established, NYCFC will continue to have trouble not only in the Open Cup, but building future stars as well. There is no denying that players like Jonathan Lewis, James Sands, and Joe Scally would benefit from being able to play consistently in preparation for joining the first team.
This entire debacle would perhaps be avoided if NYCFC had their own stadium. But don’t expect that for a while.