Doménec Torrent’s departure as manager for New York City FC in November 2019 still has an aura of mystery that surrounds it. While much of the discourse has involved the Catalan boss’ dislike for NYCFC’s transfer policy, it turns out that it was only one factor in his abrupt exit.
Turns out, Torrent had made up his mind about leaving in June of 2019. The reason — job security.
Former NYCFC manager Domè Torrent in an exclusive November 2019 interview with The Outfield went into detail about the conflicts that ultimately led to his departure. @EganSoccerWords with the story.https://t.co/Fvpglm3l9R— The Outfield (@OutfieldNYCFC) June 16, 2021
In an interview with The Outfield days after he announced he was stepping down, Domé went into detail regarding a lot of things. Most of the talk stemmed from City’s difficulty finding a striker after the departure of David Villa, using Maxi Moralez as a False 9, and ultimately acquiring Héber.
The entire process was extremely frustrating for Domé as Héber was his 9th choice to come in and fill Villa’s shoes. Other options were shot down due to salary issues and/or players not wanting to play in the MLS.
Fair enough. I can see how that’s frustrating. But the straw that broke the camel’s back is where things just get silly.
Back in April, NYCFC brought in higher ups from City Football Group to monitor Domé and the team following an excruciatingly bad start to 2019, in addition to a poor finish in 2018. Torrent had taken over the club after the departure of previous coach Patrick Vieira who had guided NYCFC to 2nd place in the Eastern Conference by that time, only an arm’s reach from then-leaders Atlanta United.
At first, things looked good with Domé winning five of his first six games in charge. Following that, however, the team went on a skid that saw them struggle to collect points heading into the playoffs, ultimately finishing in third and 15 points below eventual Eastern Conference winners New York Red Bulls. NYCFC would win a knockout round game against the Philadelphia Union, but then get bounced out in the Eastern Conference Semifinals (a recurring theme).
The 2019 season got off to an even rockier start. By the end of that March, NYCFC had only won 4 of their last 20 competitive games.
After this whole ordeal, Torrent was placed in the hot seat. And rightfully so.
Domé knew this. And once officials from CFG started showing up, he took offense and made his decision that 2019 would be his last year with NYCFC.
There it is: Domé made his decision to leave towards the end of the year, but not even halfway through it. It wasn’t only NYCFC’s transfer policy that forced the former Pep Guardiola assistant out of the Bronx, but his insecurity with losing his job to Gio van Bronckhurst, close friends with then NYCFC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna.
If that is truly the reason, I have no other choice than to call bullshit.
Domé took over a well-oiled machine in 2018 that was ready not only to finish top of the East, but hoist a trophy as well. His own tinkering with NYCFC’s system and personnel caused a vicious slide in the team’s form, not pressure from outside forces.
To his credit, Domé Torrent would had a big turnaround that summer and at the end of the 2019 season, NYCFC stood atop the Eastern Conference, qualified for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League, and headed into the MLS Cup Playoffs as one of the favorites to hoist the league’s top prize. And had Ronald Matarrita not committed one of the most boneheaded foul I’ve ever seen in my life, it’s very possible City would have done just that.
And that should’ve been the end of it. Torrent’s security as head coach of NYCFC was very secure and nobody with a strand of sense would have objected to that. Reyna had also stepped down from his post days after Domé announced he was leaving, which could’ve helped heal things after the alleged power struggle that ensued that summer.
Instead, Domé made good on his summer promise to his staff and stepped down from his post days after the Matarrita debacle. And it makes zero sense. Especially considering Torrent would later sign with Brazilian club Flamengo where he had an even shorter leash than he did in the dog-eat-dog world of New York sports.
Torrent left a lot of potential on the table in the Bronx. And for what? Because his job was justifiably in danger after an awful run of over 20 games in charge? Sorry, I’m not OK with that.