New York City Football Club’s season came to a disappointing end after finishing with the second most points in the Major League Soccer regular season, falling to the Columbus Crew by an aggregate score of 4-3 in the MLS Cup Quarterfinals.
This marks the second consecutive season that NYCFC has failed to win a Playoff round. After going down 4-1 in the first leg at Columbus, New York City made a strong comeback effort but just fell short, unable to win by the necessary three-goal margin at home in Yankee Stadium.
Manchester City’s sister club will enter the offseason with a number of question marks going into the 2018 season. Most notably, Italian footballing legend Andrea Pirlo is retiring from professional football, opening up one of the three designated player spots (DPs can be paid any salary and not count against the salary cap) on the team.
Sporting director Claudio Reyna and head coach Patrick Vieira will certainly look to bring in a game-changing talent with this roster opening. Through most of the season, Pirlo had become a bench player and his departure will not negatively impact the team on the field. Despite not receive much playing time this year, we should take this opportunity to appreciate his years of amazing football.
More significantly, NYCFC will have to address two critical players, Alexander Ring and Yangel Herrera, coming to the end of their contracts. Ring was arguably the team’s second best player, operating as a defensive midfielder and being a focal point in maintaining the team’s possession based style of play. The Finland international signed a one-year contract when he came over from the German second division last offseason and his play will certainly warrant interest from European clubs.
Manchester City loanee Yangel Herrera also impressed at the age of 19 for both club and country (Venezuela), so there will be competition for his signature as well. NYCFC will do their best to retain both players and their success next season may be dependent on it.
A more pressing rumor for Manchester City fans involves Yaya Touré, and the reports that he will be joining New York City FC in one of the next two transfer windows on a free transfer. The Ivorian is no longer an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s plans, but it sounds as if City would prefer to retain him throughout the season to maintain squad depth. However, NYCFC would push for a January move so Touré would be available for the start of the MLS season in March.
New York City continues to try and cement itself as a premier franchise in MLS, but major changes can be expected this offseason.