It’s Time to Start Talking About City as a Contender

photo from NYCFC

New York City FC’s 3-1 win over Sporting KC was their second in a row and has to put them in the conversation with the top contenders in Major League Soccer. The team is tied with least amount of losses in the entire league and the combination of Maxi Moralez and Heber are starting to show signs of something special.

“This is the New York City Football Club style right now,” said Dome Torrent after the game. “Everybody touch the ball. You have to be patient. In the right moment, you can attack. I’m very happy because the first goal was fantastic.”

Friday night’s game was a sterling example of just how well City can pick apart teams in the midfield. Moralez has never looked better as he transitions from playmaker to goal-scoring threat with ease. The team’s first goal exemplified this as a pass from the midfield from Moralez sparked Matarrita’s pass to Tinnerholm for the goal. Both he and Heber stalked the six-yard box, making it difficult for Kansas City to defend.

That hasn’t been unique to this game. Despite losing David Villa this year, the team has been able to find the back of the net with relative ease. Perhaps they haven’t completed as many of their chances as fans would like but they have only been shut out four times this year. It is an impressive number that seems them still capable of reaching the top of the Eastern Conference given their current games-in-hand.

“At the end, the best is when you see your players playing with one clear style,” said Torrent. “I’m here not just to try to win the games, I want to play well. I’ll be happy if I was able to create one style here when the people talk about New York City.”

Of course, this kind of play does come with some worries. Crosstown rivals New York Red Bulls have made the regular season look easy since 2015 with two Supporters Shields but have been unable to do damage in the playoffs. Dome Torrent and City aren’t looking for another early exit and that remains why the missed chances are still so worrying for the club.

All in all, it shouldn’t be denied that NYCFC are now in the running for MLS Cup contenders. They are beating the teams they should beat and toppled publicized contenders like Philadelphia and Seattle. They’ve also put in good showings against DC United and LAFC.

Next up is a cross-country flight to play Real Salt Lake. Once again, this is a game that City should win to continue their claim of being an MLS Cup contender. Mike Petke and his team will certainly be hoping to stifle City’s newfound momentum but signs are pointing towards another NYCFC win.