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HRB Roundtable: A look back at 2023, Part 1

Remember Justin Haak's banger? Good times.

There were some reasons to smile this year |

Welcome to the latest edition of the Hudson River Blue Roundtable, in which Corey Clayton, Andrew leigh, Matthew Mangam, Raf BNoboa y Rivera, Mark Radigan, and Oliver Strand  try to make sense of the 2023 New York City FC season.

Part 2 will run tomorrow.

1. Disappointed, but not surprised

Oliver Strand: Are you disappointed NYCFC didn’t make the playoffs?

Matthew Mangam: Disappointed, but not surprised. After the departures of key players like Taty Castellanos and Alex Callens, I knew it would be tough for New York. NYCFC felt the effects of them leaving and did not make up for it until it was too late. 

Raf Noboa y Rivera: What Matthew said — disappointed and unsurprising. This was pretty much baked in when the Pigeons failed to win a game between April 22 and July 26. That’s a 17-game winless streak. Hard to overcome that!

Corey Clayton: Many of us have been on this crazy nine-season ride since Match #1 in Orlando in 2015. Going to playoffs in seven out of nine seasons, and winning an MLS Cup along the way, is something many MLS club supporters would be envious of. So, in perspective, you’re disappointed to miss MLS Cup, but not sad — as long as this is just a short hiccup/correction.

Andrew Leigh: I entered this season with lower expectations but still thought they’d be good enough to finish within the top nine. As this season progressed and the non-wins piled up, disappointment gave way to acceptance.

Mark Radigan: For me, this season was a disappointment because it serves as a missed opportunity. The departure of Taty Castellanos gave NYCFC funds to greatly re-invest in an already very experienced squad. Yet, the investments made weren’t poor per se, but weren’t the moves that helped NYCFC in the present. 

OS: Taty left last year — was this squad doomed from the start of the 2023 season?

MM: New York also sold Héber, leaving the team without a real striker to begin the 2023 season. The club did it to themselves and took too long to sign a new striker.

RNyR: The squad wasn’t doomed. There’s talent in the roster. A good coach could’ve fashioned a solid offense out of the pieces here. As it was, they nearly made the playoffs, despite playing listless, disjointed soccer for the majority of the season.

CC: Gotta wonder if something in the winter transfer window fell through that caused this calamity of a season that left David Lee so unprepared?  

Seems like the front office was scrambling for talent in the final week of the window, and all through the preseason — which led to players without proper time to gel in practice, and being unprepared on match day.

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