I tried, guys. I really did. But I cannot bear to watch this any longer.
New York City FC’s 4-0 loss to Toronto FC last night was probably one of the most embarrassing nights I’ve ever had as a fan of this club. Yes, I’d put last night’s rout up against the infamous 7-0 game or City’s playoff exit in 2016 any day.
Why so embarrassing, you say? I’m so glad you asked. Because this team is too damn talented and too damn good on paper to ever be on the wrong end of scoreline like that. I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that the absence of David Villa and Yangel Herrera has reduced this team to a bottom-of-the-table side, especially when there’s evidence to suggest that NYCFC were better without El Guaje last season.
The problem does not rest on the shoulders of the talent, whether that be Alexandru Mitrita, Alexander Ring, Ebenezer Ofori, or even Jesus Medina. No, the problem is coaching.
We all had our collective criticisms of Patrick Vieira and the weird things he’d do from time to time. But I’d remiss to ever call him a bad coach. Under Vieira’s watch, NYCFC slowly turned from a scrappy expansion side to a bona fide MLS Cup contender.
2018 began brilliantly for the Blues under Vieira’s watch. The team went unbeaten through their first seven games and were competing neck-and-neck with behemoths like the New York Red Bulls and the eventual champions Atlanta. Then, in June, Vieira announced that he would be departing the Bronx to take take over Ligue 1 team OGC Nice. His replacement: Doménec Torrent.
Torrent came in with an impressive coaching pedigree. Despite not having much head coaching experience, Domé had served as an assistant under the legendary Pep Guardiola, arguably one of the best football managers in the history of the game with impressive spells at Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City all resulting in silverware.
And at first, things were fine. Domé strolled into his first games at the helm of NYCFC with a play style that was similar — if not outright identical — to that of Vieira’s, albeit with minor tweaks here and there. It was during this time that Domé saw City through wins in five of his first six matchups.
Then, the wheels fell off completely.
Throughout the latter part of 2018, NYCFC failed to keep up with the pace that Atlanta and the Red Bulls were setting as they struggled for results, barring wins against the meandering Chicago Fire and overwhelmingly mediocre Philadelphia Union. And with a proper offseason leading up to a new season and a blank canvas to institute his ideal system, the results haven’t come.
Turns out, the title of “Pep’s bestie” looks good on paper and isn’t indicative of a good head coach.
#NYCFC have won just 4 of their last 20 games. Let that sink in.— Hudson River Blue (@hudsonriverblue) March 30, 2019
With NYCFC beginning 2019 with an abysmal record of 0-3-1 (W-D-L), the Blues have won just 4 of their last 20 games and en route to a very miserable season. And despite the recent acquisition of Héber — a relatively unknown player from an obscure European league — signs aren’t pointing towards any kind of improvement. So long as he isn’t called out and held accountable, Domé will continue to employ questionable tactics and continue down the path of destruction.
The time has come for the powers-that-be at New York City to make a choice.
Do they continue to put their faith in Domé despite no data suggesting that he can get the job done? Or do they cut their losses and allow the team to start anew?
Please, NYCFC. Stop this train while you still can before it derails completely.