Taking over as manager of a club is a tough task for anyone, especially within Major League Soccer. With one of the most punishing road schedules in all of football and a plethora of league-enforced rules in the name of parity, it is a difficult ask of even the most seasoned of managers.
Such is the case for Domé Torrent, who took over New York City FC in June after previous manager Patrick Vieira decided to take his talents to Nice, France. Though the former Pep Guardiola assistant had initial good returns with club winning five of his first six matchups, Torrent’s squad has struggled of late, winning only once in their last eight games.
The Catalan manager has not blamed the team’s recent shortcomings on MLS’s demanding schedule, though. At least not entirely. Instead, he’s opined that it may be a personnel issue.
In a lengthy interview with Kyle Schnitzer of the New York Post — which you should definitely check out — Torrent discussed many things including jazz and Pep Guardiola. But perhaps the biggest topic of conversation revolved around his system and where everyone fits in.
“I want to create the style, but maybe it’s better next year,” Torrent said. “If you want to create a certain style, you need the right players to be able to play in the style. I am very happy — very, very happy, believe me — with my players because they fight until the last minute. … But for example, if I want to play with 4-3-3 [formation], I need two wingers.
“When I say wingers, I think about the players that are able to play in the sideline, not on the sideline. Like [Christian] Pulisic, he’s able to take the ball through dribbling and sometimes make one-vs.-one.”
Former NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira also utilized the 4-3-3 predominantly, sometimes electing to use a 3-5-2. However, the former Arsenal legend’s system was a lot more rigid than that of Torrent’s, who has experimented quite a bit since arriving in New York.
And while the two both fancy playing wide play, it is obvious that Torrent does not rate wingers like Jesus Medina, among others, as highly as Vieira did. For Torrent to say that his system needs wingers while in charge of a team that was already tailored to play the 4-3-3 religiously upon his arrival means that it is not his ideal team and that he will need other players to fulfill his criteria.
The logistics of Torrent’s wishes may be difficult within the MLS framework. Considering his radical views on NYCFC’s current situation as it pertains to the team’s wingers, one would only assume part of his plan could include offloading DP Jesus Medina. New York City supporters have already endured the headaches associated with offloading big contract players, such as the entire Mix Diskerud saga that began in early 2016 and didn’t really conclude until just before this season when sister club Manchester City graciously took the Norweigan-born midfielder off of our hands. Considering the fact that Diskerud wasn’t even a Designated Player, I could only imagine the nightmare that would ensue should Torrent and NYCFC decide their better off without the young Paraguayan winger, who is at the tail end of his first year in what is a 4-year deal. Then again, it was reported that OGC Nice — Vieira’s new club — was interested in purchasing Medina this summer.
I could be reading entirely too much into this. But given the language used by Torrent, I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that the NYCFC squad that takes the field in 2019 could have a much different look then the one we’ve seen this year. Whether that is a good thing or not is to be determined.