Sitting second-to-last place in the Eastern Conference with only three points through their first six games, New York City FC are officially off to the worst start to an MLS season in franchise history. That little factoid alone is enough to make most New York sports fan resist the urge to puke. But trust me, it gets worse.
Through these six games, NYCFC has conceded only 7 goals which averages to just over one goal allowed per game. Not bad, right? Well, it wouldn’t be on its own. Unfortunately, during that time period, New York City have only found the back of the net twice. That’s to goals through six games. That is horrible.
And with City performing so poorly, all eyes shift over to manager Ronny Deila.
Ronny Deila is already under pressure— Football (@NORftbl) August 21, 2020
New York City FC in MLS this season:
Goals scored: 2
Goals conceded: 7 #NYCFC have now lost 5 MLS games this season - only lost 6 in the whole of last season. pic.twitter.com/NNG4YRBfqZ
Deila’s appointment to the head coaching position came with little fanfare as he never seemed like the front-runner to the job. If the rumors and reports are true, then it was Giovanni van Bronckhorst who was City’s top pick to take over for former manager Domé Torrent after his departure.
Unfortunately, Gio took a job in China and NYCFC were left with the former Celtic boss Deila. Upon joining, the Norwegian manager touted himself as an offensive-minded coach, stating that he’d “rather win 4-3 than win 1-0.”
Yeah... about that...
Outside of the first leg of NYCFC’s CONCACAF Champions League debut which resulted in a 5-3 win against Costa Rica’s AD San Carlos, there has been no such offensive onslaught. Instead, City fans have been forced to bear witness to four 1-0 defeats in league play (five in all competitions if you include the 1-0 loss to Tigres in the CCL) and a solitary 1-0 win over expansion side Inter Miami.
This is not good. As a matter of fact, there has never been a worse stretch of play in the team’s history. And I’m tired of pretending that bad coaching has nothing to do with it. I like Deila. I’ve spoken to him many times throughout this season, and he strikes me as a decent guy who gives it his all. But if this is the best he can do, it isn’t good enough. And right now, NYCFC should be exploring any other available options.
Since their inception, the hype around New York City has been immense. And despite not having any silverware in the cabinet, they have been consistently listed as being among the league’s best teams for five seasons running. Add in the aforementioned NY fans and the culture that comes with them, results are a must. Jason Kreis was fired after the club’s inaugural season for not making the playoffs. Domé Torrent reportedly would have been under the gun had it not been for a 3-3 draw against Minnesota United, a game in which NYCFC should have won. Excellence is a fair goal to have.
Let’s use other corners of the world as an example.
Former Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri was sacked not long ago (and replaced by former NYCFC player Andrea Pirlo). Despite winning the Old Lady its ninth straight Serie A title, losing in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 to Lyon was unacceptable.
After only being appointed in January, Barcelona boss Quique Setién was fired for not winning La Liga and for the team’s embarrassing 8-2 loss in the CL to Bayern Munich. Less than 8 months on the job, and Qiuqe was handed a pink slip. Why? Because Barcelona has a standard. And if you can’t meet that standard, then get the f— out of here.
NYCFC brass are rapidly approaching time to make that decision. Do they roll with the punches and let Deila figure it out? Or do they take immediate action, cut their losses, and hope the ship can be righted by someone else?
Quite frankly, I’m leaning towards the latter.
I’ve rooted for Deila’s success since the day he came in. But I can’t defend these results. They’re that bad.