Let me ask you this. Let’s say Pep Guardiola stepped down from Mnachester City after finishing second in the Premier League this season. A replacement is named down the road and in his first 6 competitive games, they only won twice against an obscure team in continental competition with your other four games all ending in clean sheet defeats. Would you expect that person to keep their job? Probably not.
This is the scrutiny that Ronny Deila has set himself up for. Following their 1-0 defeat this morning at the hands of the Philadelphia Union in their debut in the MLS is Back Tournament, New York City FC have played a total of six competitive games in 2020 and have disappointed more than they’ve satisfied.
Now, I’ll be fair. The set of circumstances this year have not been fair. After all, nobody anticipated that a coronavirus pandemic would essentially grind the world to a complete halt. This incredibly odd set of misfortunes haven’t been good to anyone.
To further expand upon that, it’s not unlike NYCFC have been completely lethargic in all their appearances this season. Even in this morning’s contest, City had their chances. But the fact that they’ve been unable to convert some of these chances, but all of these chances is cause for concern. And if I’m Deila right now, I’d be worried.
By anyone else’s standards, the beginning of 2020 for NYCFC has been a colossal failure. And if MLS had European standards, it’s possible that the Norwegian manager would already be on the chopping block. Because at the end of the day, this is not a bad team. As a matter of fact, there’s a case to be made that New York City has perhaps the deepest and most well-rounded roster in the entire league. And there zero excuse that they have not scored in four straight games.
But let’s be honest: Deila is a lucky man. Because here in America, soccer is merely on the peripheral when it comes to the modern zeitgeist as it pertains to sports culture. If you fuck up, you aren’t getting the savage headlines from the Times or the Post. Mike Francesa and Michael Kay aren’t gonna roast you on their respective radio shows. Stephen A. Smith isn’t going to argue about your performance with Max Kellerman on ESPN’s First Take.
Nobody is putting the screws to Deila apart from little ol’ me on a sports blog and a few independently run sites. Right or wrong, Deila will still have his job tomorrow and beyond the MLSIB Tournament.
Now, why am I talking about this? Because the time to panic is now for NYCFC. And there needs to be a sense of urgency. Because one more 1-0 loss, and you can effectively kiss your playoff chances — much less your championship aspirations — goodbye.
Figure this shit out.