Manuel Veth –
New York City have fallen agonizingly short in recent seasons but Patrick Vieira’s side have started the 2018 campaign in tremendous fashion and, based on their first three games, they look the side to beat in the Eastern Conference. There is an awfully long way to go and their main rivals Toronto FC are clearly concentrating on their CONCACAF Champions League commitments but NYCFC currently look unstoppable and this could be the year that they finally fulfil their potential.
New York City FC have made their best start to a season in their short history and fans are feeling understandably optimistic about their chances of MLS success. The boys in blue have looked assured all over the park and, even without their talisman David Villa, they still managed to see off Orlando City at the Yankee Stadium on March 17th. Vieira praised his side’s patience and maturity with Maxi Moralez catching the eye once again and new signing Jesus Medina dazzling the crowds.
Vieira led New York City FC to an impressive start
With the aforementioned Villa joined on the sidelines by right-back Anton Tinnerholm, the former Arsenal midfielder was forced to shuffle his pack but stuck with his favoured 4-3-3. These potentially-pivotal absences did not affect the balance of the side and further outlined the clubs strength in depth.
Their impressive start, which has seen them concede just a single goal in their first three games has prompted the bookmakers to install them as the new favourites for the MLS Cup. Anyone who is thinking of backing Vieira’s side for glory in 2018 could do it with one of the huge number of free bets from Champion Bets, including a 100% deposit bonus with Crown Bet, a bookmaker who also regularly stream MLS matches throughout the campaign. NYCFC are unlikely to have it all their own way though, with Atlanta making a bright start and Toronto FC maintaining the majority of their title-winning side but they are the early pacesetters and they could be difficult to catch.
Over the past couple of seasons, Vieira has preached the importance of a possession-based approach to games but the Frenchman has already shown more versatility this year and his side look capable of winning matches in a variety of ways. Even if they aren’t firing on all cylinders, they can always rely on a moment of individual brilliance from the aforementioned Maxi Moralez and David Villa. The former has been included in the MLS team of the week and that is unlikely to be his last appearance this season.
New York City could finally get their hands on silverware
They have worked on their pressing game during the off-season and a noticeable increase in fitness levels has worked in their favour during the opening few weeks. They boasted the fifth best defense in the league last season but, on the evidence of their three games so far, their back-line could prove incredibly difficult to breach this campaign.
Their first real test arrives in mid-April with a trip to the impressive Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take on a lively Atlanta side. Their opponents have netted seven goals in their opening two home matches and also defeated NYCFC 3-1 in Georgia twelve months ago. Their MLS Cup credentials will be severely tested and, despite arriving just a month into the season, it has the makings of a potential title-decider.
New York City have been outstanding during the early stages of the MLS and, whilst their fans are refusing to get carried away, 2018 could be the year that the boys in blue finally get their hands on some silverware.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth. Or contact him via email: [email protected]