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NYCFC are among the elite in MLS

New York City logged another strong regular season despite a 10-game stumble, and continue to rank as one of the best MLS teams of all time

Let’s take a moment to celebrate.
Photograph courtesy NYCFC.com

It’s easy to take New York City FC’s winning ways for granted. Ever since NYCFC’s messy but incredibly entertaining inaugural year was put behind them, New York City have generally recorded strong performances while playing an attractive, attacking style of soccer that’s thrilling to watch and puts points on then table. We go to every game with the reasonable expectation that the Pigeons will win, and will look good while doing it.

What’s more, NYCFC are consistently excellent: No season has gone off the rails, yet. Stumbles are corrected, dips in form are fixed. Year in and year out, New York City are among the very best clubs in MLS.

You can't say that about many organizations. Atlanta United came roaring out of the gate when they joined MLS in 2017, but the now-dysfunctional club haven’t been that impressive since 2019, and missed the playoffs entirely this season. FC Dallas are looking sharp this year, but finished in 23rd place overall last season. Portland Timbers have appeared in three MLS Cup Finals since joining the league 12 years ago — and missed the playoffs entirely three times, including this season.

If you go strictly by the numbers, NYCFC are among the most elite clubs in MLS. Only LAFC and Seattle Sounders have stronger cumulative regular season records than New York City.

MLS Regular Season Cumulative Record by Team

Team Seasons GP W D L Points PPG
Team Seasons GP W D L Points PPG
LAFC 5 158 79 36 43 273 1.73
Seattle Sounders 14 456 211 104 141 737 1.62
NYCFC 8 261 117 62 82 416 1.59
Atlanta United 6 193 83 46 64 295 1.53
LA Galaxy 27 854 377 180 297 1289 1.51

It’s all the more remarkable that NYCFC posted this strong of a record despite the late-summer swoon that threatened to upend the year. That interim head coach Nick Cushing was able to correct course and finish the regular season with a three-game winning streak is a testament to the resilience of the team, and the high expectations of the club.

Well done, NYCFC.

A couple of notes about the numbers above. One, Seattle are a machine. They might have never fully recovered after winning the Champions League this past spring, but their track record demonstrates that they go all-in every year. Two, LA Galaxy are impressive. It’s no small achievement to put up strong results since 1996, and keep pace with new-money teams like LAFC and Atlanta.

As you can see from the expanded cumulative table below, many good MLS teams fall into a cyclical pattern of performing well for a few seasons, then stumbling for a season or two. That’s a reasonable model to follow in soccerland, where fortunes rise and fall.

But a handful of clubs put up strong results year after year, and play entertaining soccer for their fans every season. It’s crystal clear New York City are one of those clubs.

MLS Regular Season Cumulative Record by Team, Expanded

Team Seasons GP W D L Points PPG GF GA GD Playoff Apps MLS Cup Supporters' Shield
Team Seasons GP W D L Points PPG GF GA GD Playoff Apps MLS Cup Supporters' Shield
LAFC 5 158 79 36 43 273 1.73 319 217 102 4 0 2
Seattle Sounders 14 456 211 104 141 737 1.62 679 532 147 13 2 1
NYCFC 8 261 117 62 82 416 1.59 439 347 92 7 1 0
Atlanta United 6 193 83 46 64 295 1.53 314 248 66 4 1 0
LA Galaxy 27 854 377 180 297 1289 1.51 1365 1172 193 20 5 3
Nashville SC 3 91 33 22 36 136 1.49 135 105 30 3 0 0
Portland Timbers 12 397 155 110 132 575 1.45 599 568 31 7 1 0
New Jersey Red Bulls 27 854 352 175 327 1207 1.41 1286 1216 70 23 0 3
Sporting Kansas City 27 854 350 193 311 1208 1.41 1221 1149 72 19 2 1
Columbus Crew 27 856 345 188 323 1199 1.40 1227 1176 51 16 2 3