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Guest Column: Let's give Mounsef a Standing O in the 9th minute

Here's why fans should rise to their feet on Saturday night and voice their support for the New York City FC striker.

All together now | Courtesy

This Guest Column is courtesy of Javier Gutierrez, one half of The NYCFC City Boys, a podcast that covers all things New York City FC.

Since the beginning of the season, Mounsef Bakrar struggled to find the back of the net. He’s gone eight starts without a goal, and a streak like that will get in your head. Last Saturday, the Algerian striker looked heartbroken on the sideline after being subbed out in the 77th minute.

As fans, we are at a crossroads. Do we throw in the towel and move on from Bakrar? Or do we double down, and support him even more?

I am a gambling man, and I say we double down.

I propose we rise up from our seats at the 9th minute and give Bakrar a standing ovation.

Why the 9th minute? Bakrar’s jersey is #9, and he plays striker, which is considered the No 9. 

More than that, the number symbolizes a new beginning, and the hope that his ninth start this season will mark a turning point for him.

Some may argue that in New York City the stage is bigger, the lights are brighter, and the expectations are higher: We shouldn’t baby a professional athlete.

But soccer is as much about mental strength as it is physical prowess. Professional athletes are also human.

It's important to remember that New York City FC are the youngest team in the league, with an average age of just 23.3. While they're a talented group of young players, they lack a seasoned leader who can rally the team when morale is low. With such a young squad, support from the fans can really make a difference. 

If you cheer on Bakrar in 9th minute, you won’t exactly be applauding someone who will win the Golden Boot this year. But let's not overlook all the other ways Bakrar excels.

The 23-year-old ranks in the 93rd percentile for touches in the attacking penalty area and the 98th percentile for shot-creating actions (take-ons), according to The naysayers will point out that being last in the most crucial category for a striker – goals scored – renders these stats irrelevant. I can't dispute that, but I will say that if his struggles lie in overcoming his own mental barriers, then the support of the fan base could truly make a difference. 

New Yorkers will always demand excellence from their teams. But it’s possible to both expect results and show empathy to our players. How we support them in their darkest moments, can define us as a fan base. 

So, in the 9th minute, get on your feet, stand shoulder to shoulder with your fellow supporters, and cheer for Bakrar. 

Let him know he’s one of us as long as he’s wearing the badge.