We all have our annual traditions. As New York City FC prepares for the start of the 2023 MLS season by scouring the Earth for the finest footballers Targeted Allocation Money can buy, the staff here at Hudson River Blue took our crystal ball out of its velvet-lined mahogany case and asked it to tell us about the year that lies ahead.
Last year, the spirits guided us to make 22 predictions for 2022, and a shocking 14 of them proved to be true (more or less). The all started in 2015, when our colleagues made 15 predictions, two of which actually happened. A few years later, the spirits riddled us “five things that will definitely happen.” While only one of those things took place that year, two more of happened much later.
You better sit down, because what you’re about to read is going to haunt you for the rest of the year.
23 predictions for 2023
- Things will feel weird. The roster rebuild, the Apple TV broadcasts, the stadium that’s no longer the object of obsessive speculation: There’s no escaping that the start of the season will be a little off.
- The price of a can of beer at Yankee Stadium will cross the $20 threshold.
- The roster rebuild won’t be completed before the start of the season, and after a bumpy March (#CushingOut) some key signings will set up the team for the longest winning streak in club history (#CushingIn).
- It will take exactly one match on Apple TV for NYCFC fans to loudly call for the return of Joe Tolleson and Ian Joy.
- Talles Magno will emerge as a true MLS superstar. He’ll add enough goals to his game to grab league-wide attention, and his on-field flair mixed with off-field fashion will turn him into the face of NYCFC. Links to European clubs emerge by the end of the season.
- Also: Talles Magno, Gabriel Pereira, and Matías Pellegrini will form the best attacking trio in the league. They’ll be known as “Pe Pe Magno.”
- Queens will start to feel like home.
- Head coach Nick Cushing will once again sneak for a post-game beer at Billy’s Sport’s Bar. It’s his thing.
- Center-back Samuel Owusu will be the next NYCFC II player to be called on to make a clutch appearance for the Senior Team, then earn a regular place in the Starting XI.
- Mayor Eric Adams will reveal that his fingers were crossed behind his back for the entire press conference at the Queens Museum, and that the stadium deal is off. In an official statement, NYCFC CEO and President Brad Sims will remind him that there are “no takebacks!” City Hall will counter that the mayor’s fingers were double-crossed, and so takebacks are allowed.
- A highly-touted Homegrown player who’s so young he gets carded at Starbucks will make their debut with the Senior Team (Christian McFarlane or Máximo Carrizo, take your pick).
- Philadelphia Union and their unhinged fans will remain obsessed with NYCFC and the silverware that got away.
- Nick Cushing will prove to be the best head coach in the history of the club by taking the team to another level, and setting a new standard in North America for attractive, progressive soccer. Then he’ll leave us. They always do.
- Justin Haak will establish himself as a regular starter and the midfield partner of Keaton Parks. Haak will find his way to the MLS Top 23 under 23 list.
- NYCFC will once again call Red Bull Arena “home” multiple times during the season. Did you actually believe the schedule the club released last month?
- Lionel Messi will sign with Inter Miami, and his first game in pink will be the March 11 match at Yankee Stadium. Ticketmaster will suffer another Taylor Swift-caliber meltdown, no tickets will scan at the gates, and the only ones watching the game will be the Ball Kids.
- The Outfield will continue to be the best publication to cover NYCFC not named Hudson River Blue.
- Tayvon Gray will take a massive step up this season and be very close to a European move by the end of the year.
- Also Europe-bound: sporting director David Lee, who will leave midseason to run a club in England.
- New York City will make a shock move for left-winger Jesé, who will record a reggaeton collab with Bad Bunny and Daddy Yankee that becomes the team anthem. Jesé will go on the unlikeliest of scoring streaks after mostly being cold for the majority of the season.
- NYCFC will become an unexpected Leagues Cup contender, win their group, then make it all the way to the semis before falling in a penalty shootout.
- The new primary kit for NYCFC will be a sharp number in classic blue with tasteful orange details as the Pigeons finally settle on a standard design: Straightforward primary kits, wild and wacky alternates.
- NYCFC will sweep the New Jersey Red Bulls in the Hudson River Derby, again. That much is crystal clear.