2019 Offseason Thread

mgarbowski

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Fantazma

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Things change with a new CEO. In fairness, I think they always scheduled things like this in advance of the season but didn't always tell us in a packaged schedule.
Fair...i know they planned each borough appreciation night but wouldnt even know when a specific date for them until like the week of. I think one year the pride night didnt even happen on day they said it would.
 
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FredMertz

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https://www.denverpost.com/2019/02/21/backpass-rapids-mls-secret-preseason/

The article doesn't really say anything we don't know or could not have guessed. He basically says teams don't stream preseason games because players are rusty and won't look good and they don't want to reveal tactics, etc until they have to. He also says he thinks the mindset is dumb. This is my favorite bit:
"The club may feel that fans will be shocked and dismayed if they tuned into an early February match to watch their center-back flubbing passing and their midfielders getting nutmegged nonstop. There may be fear by team officials that the fanbase will panic and declare the club a disaster before a single meaningful game has even been played."​

Which they probably do think but they underestimate our ability to declare the club a disaster without even watching the games.
They don't want fans to get a view of their tactics, but it's no problem to show an MLS opponent!
 

ManhattanValley

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Wanted to do a little thought experiment ahead of the first game of the season. There's a pretty clear divide between those who think we're doomed this season, and those who think we're set up for success, with good arguments for both. So I figured I'd write up a hyper-pessimistic and hyper-optimistic season preview, and see where people stand. I tried to avoid getting too hysterical with either approach, and obviously the reality is somewhere in the middle. But before we get to that milestone of having Actual Matches to inform our opinions, I wanted to work out why it's been such a weirdly divided offseason. Plus, it was a Sunday and I was bored. One was definitely easier to write than the other, which made me question my own outlook for the year. I'll post part two later, but first up here is:

THE PESSIMIST'S NYCFC 2019 PREVIEW
  • NYCFC goes into the season with the spine of its team destroyed, and neither David Villa or Yangel Herrera being replaced with anyone of proven quality. Villa's departure leaves a leadership vacuum at what is now an extremely young squad. With just one player over 30 on the roster, and several rookies coming into their first full professional season, it's difficult to see where players will look to during rocky stretches. For the moment, the job falls by default to Alex Ring, who has never captained before and admitted to being surprised at getting the armband. At this point, Ring is the closest thing to the face of the franchise, raising the question of whether NYCFC is a team of fading relevance, something which could quickly get ugly if last year's late-season form continues into 2019.
  • Dome Torrent is stubbornly committed to a style that failed to yield results last season. Having lost the support of vast swathes of the team's fans, Torrent has very little political capital to work with – without a fast start, he may spend the year snapping at reporters like he did in Atlanta. The common refrain was that Torrent would fare better after bringing in players that better suited his style, but with squad turnover low, NYCFC are stuck with the same players working with the same system. It remains to be seen whether, after five months of Torrent's coaching failing to translate in 2018, another couple of months of preseason will do the job. And again – he does not have the luxury of time.
  • While the back line may seem settled, there are big question marks at fullback, with neither left back making a convincing case for the starting job, and a 16 year-old providing the only cover for Anton Tinnerholm. Meanwhile with only three center backs on the roster, the team is one injury away from having zero depth – redeploying a starting LB or CM appears to be the only backup plan. In midfield, a backlog of young central midfielders will compete for starting jobs, with no clear candidate emerging in preseason for the third spot alongside Ring and Maxi Moralez, and no clearly defined roles being set for any of them. If none of Keaton Parks, Juan Pablo Torres or Tony Rocha prove to be a difference-maker, then Torrent can be accused of going for quantity rather than quality in midfield.
  • The really big questions come up front. Remarkably, the team goes into 2019 without an out-and-out striker on the books, a gamble that leaves the team without a viable plan B for situations that don't demand the use of a false nine. The entire team's goalscoring hopes are apparently pinned on Alex Mitrita – a player who's flopped in every league except Romania's, who NYCFC are widely regarded to have overpaid for. Early signs suggest while Mitrita may be talented, he's unlikely to lead the line as Villa did. Meanwhile, a promised new striker to give the team a different look up front has so far failed to materialize, continuing a trend where the front office is seemingly content to sit on piles of allocation money for most of the season. Jesus Medina continues to be a mystery, and while he seems guaranteed a starting place, his best role in the first XI still seems unclear, and his value as a DP unclearer still. Medina may on occasion push out Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who already faces a gargantuan task to avoid regressing to the mean in terms of scoring goals, and seems like a prime candidate for a sophomore slump. Meanwhile, the baffling omission of Jonathan Lewis continues, with Torrent and senior team leaders queuing up to pour cold water on the winger's showcase with the USMNT, just as excitement was building.
  • Throw in a fanbase which is ambivalent at best and angry at worst, a continuing stalemate over the stadium situation, and a front office in a state of transition...it's not going to be a great year.
 

mgarbowski

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I'm optimistic, if only because being pessimistic in the offseason seems a miserable choice. There's plenty of time to be negative when things actually go wrong. Hell, I do it in the middle of games, if we're not beating some chump team at home I usually sit there muttering curses, and then often enough we turned it around. I blamed Dome for our bad finish in 2019 and I still do, and don't credit any excuses, including schedule, injuries, and taking over in midseason. Still, I also think the team will come together this year, though I fear it will come after a slow start. I wonder how many people straddle that line?
 

FredMertz

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Wanted to do a little thought experiment ahead of the first game of the season. There's a pretty clear divide between those who think we're doomed this season, and those who think we're set up for success, with good arguments for both. So I figured I'd write up a hyper-pessimistic and hyper-optimistic season preview, and see where people stand. I tried to avoid getting too hysterical with either approach, and obviously the reality is somewhere in the middle. But before we get to that milestone of having Actual Matches to inform our opinions, I wanted to work out why it's been such a weirdly divided offseason. Plus, it was a Sunday and I was bored. One was definitely easier to write than the other, which made me question my own outlook for the year. I'll post part two later, but first up here is:

THE PESSIMIST'S NYCFC 2019 PREVIEW
  • NYCFC goes into the season with the spine of its team destroyed, and neither David Villa or Yangel Herrera being replaced with anyone of proven quality. Villa's departure leaves a leadership vacuum at what is now an extremely young squad. With just one player over 30 on the roster, and several rookies coming into their first full professional season, it's difficult to see where players will look to during rocky stretches. For the moment, the job falls by default to Alex Ring, who has never captained before and admitted to being surprised at getting the armband. At this point, Ring is the closest thing to the face of the franchise, raising the question of whether NYCFC is a team of fading relevance, something which could quickly get ugly if last year's late-season form continues into 2019.
  • Dome Torrent is stubbornly committed to a style that failed to yield results last season. Having lost the support of vast swathes of the team's fans, Torrent has very little political capital to work with – without a fast start, he may spend the year snapping at reporters like he did in Atlanta. The common refrain was that Torrent would fare better after bringing in players that better suited his style, but with squad turnover low, NYCFC are stuck with the same players working with the same system. It remains to be seen whether, after five months of Torrent's coaching failing to translate in 2018, another couple of months of preseason will do the job. And again – he does not have the luxury of time.
  • While the back line may seem settled, there are big question marks at fullback, with neither left back making a convincing case for the starting job, and a 16 year-old providing the only cover for Anton Tinnerholm. Meanwhile with only three center backs on the roster, the team is one injury away from having zero depth – redeploying a starting LB or CM appears to be the only backup plan. In midfield, a backlog of young central midfielders will compete for starting jobs, with no clear candidate emerging in preseason for the third spot alongside Ring and Maxi Moralez, and no clearly defined roles being set for any of them. If none of Keaton Parks, Juan Pablo Torres or Tony Rocha prove to be a difference-maker, then Torrent can be accused of going for quantity rather than quality in midfield.
  • The really big questions come up front. Remarkably, the team goes into 2019 without an out-and-out striker on the books, a gamble that leaves the team without a viable plan B for situations that don't demand the use of a false nine. The entire team's goalscoring hopes are apparently pinned on Alex Mitrita – a player who's flopped in every league except Romania's, who NYCFC are widely regarded to have overpaid for. Early signs suggest while Mitrita may be talented, he's unlikely to lead the line as Villa did. Meanwhile, a promised new striker to give the team a different look up front has so far failed to materialize, continuing a trend where the front office is seemingly content to sit on piles of allocation money for most of the season. Jesus Medina continues to be a mystery, and while he seems guaranteed a starting place, his best role in the first XI still seems unclear, and his value as a DP unclearer still. Medina may on occasion push out Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who already faces a gargantuan task to avoid regressing to the mean in terms of scoring goals, and seems like a prime candidate for a sophomore slump. Meanwhile, the baffling omission of Jonathan Lewis continues, with Torrent and senior team leaders queuing up to pour cold water on the winger's showcase with the USMNT, just as excitement was building.
  • Throw in a fanbase which is ambivalent at best and angry at worst, a continuing stalemate over the stadium situation, and a front office in a state of transition...it's not going to be a great year.
Is it possible that the haze of memory has exaggerated the impact of Herrera on the team? 6-1-1 in the 8 games after he was injured.
 

ManhattanValley

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Well, here's the other side of the coin

THE OPTIMIST'S NYCFC 2019 PREVIEW

  • NYCFC goes into the season with one of the most talented rosters in the league largely intact, at a time when most of its key rivals are either stuck in transition, or running in place. Expectations are low for a team that has mysteriously fallen out of the media spotlight, and that lack of pressure may be welcome for the young squad. Nevertheless, the sense that some pundits have already written the team off can still help unite a locker room that is already tight from last season. Lost among the misty-eyed tributes to El Capitan was the fact that many fans had already started calling for the David Villa era to come to an end. Now the team has an opportunity to build on the tantalizing glimpses of dominance they showed last year when they didn't gear the entire system around Villa.
  • They do so under Dome Torrent, who believes he's identified MLS' inefficiencies and hopes to exploit them with a new, more fluid attacking approach. With a full preseason to convey his tactical style, Torrent has the best chance he will ever have to prove his reputation as a tactical master, after a disjointed 2018. Clearly impressed with the club's academy system, Torrent is putting admirable amounts of faith in young players – deadwood like Tommy McNamara, Rodney Wallace and Eloi Amagat have been shown the door, and the lack of direct replacements in the transfer market suggests players like James Sands, Jonathan Lewis and Joe Scally will be given the opportunity to shine instead.
  • Defensive solidity will be the bedrock of NYCFC's success this season. One of the best back defensive units in the division – with every player of international caliber – returns intact, offering the kind of consistency and continuity that most teams can only dream of. The midfield is also one of the league's strongest. Maxi Moralez is coming off a career year, and Alex Ring – newly invigorated by the captaincy – will be joined by an exciting influx of youth. Sands has been talked up relentlessly by Torrent, and his cameos last season suggest he is more than capable of replacing Yangel Herrera. That is, assuming he's not outplayed by Keaton Parks – a coup of a signing from Benfica, who arrives with a point to prove and the kind of technique and versatility that Torrent's system prides above almost anything else. The envious depth in midfield means that bad memories of watching players like McNamara and Amagat are a thing of the past for NYCFC fans.
  • The really big questions come up front. Ignoring the clamor for a marquee signing to replace Villa, Torrent and Claudio Reyna have identified an opportunity to build a different, more sophisticated kind of strikeforce, and the signing of Alex Mitrita shows the front office does not wish to let that opportunity go to waste. The biggest signing in MLS history from any club not named Atlanta is a true statement of intent, showing NYCFC's intention to avoid any kind of transition phase. Mitrita has scored in each of his preseason games so far. Supporting him will be an arsenal of attacking options, including Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Jesus Medina, who each showed their match-winning abilities on multiple occasions last season. Perhaps most mouth-watering of all, Jonathan Lewis now apparently has a path to regular first team minutes, after some cameos with the USMNT and Wallace out of the picture. Were Lewis to build on his undoubted potential, and were management confident enough to give him a run of games, NYCFC's triple threat up front could seriously be compared to Atlanta's. Even then, a new striker has been promised, with the club supposedly close to adding a true #9.
  • Throw in an underwhelming winter window for the team's main East Coast rivals, an academy system that continues to show dominance, and ample transfer funds still waiting to be used on fresh reinforcements...it's going to be a great year.
 

mgarbowski

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sundance

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Is it just me or is this the most disconnected preseason we’ve ever had? The twitter account hasn’t been that active and I feel like I know little to nothing about this years team only 3 days out from start of season.
I disagree. I think the social team has been killing it. The “podcast” player interviews have been great (Sweat came off well; now I know Tinny kind of bugs me), and they’ve had great photos and these short inside training videos almost every other day. I wish we’d have some interviews with Dome and Sims but otherwise the team has been really good about keeping us in the loop. (Well, at least they’ve been good since about mid-January, after basically everyone took like six weeks off after the Cup.)
 

roxfontaine

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Is it just me or is this the most disconnected preseason we’ve ever had? The twitter account hasn’t been that active and I feel like I know little to nothing about this years team only 3 days out from start of season.
I don't know about disconnected but I'm sure everyone is working triple overtime to do 5th season promo stuff.
 
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JayH

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I disagree. I think the social team has been killing it. The “podcast” player interviews have been great (Sweat came off well; now I know Tinny kind of bugs me), and they’ve had great photos and these short inside training videos almost every other day. I wish we’d have some interviews with Dome and Sims but otherwise the team has been really good about keeping us in the loop. (Well, at least they’ve been good since about mid-January, after basically everyone took like six weeks off after the Cup.)
In addition to much more content on the kids at all levels from academy to the youth on the big team. Comparatively, the later stage of this preseason has been a noticeable improvement (on quality as well).
 

ZYanksRule

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Is it just me or is this the most disconnected preseason we’ve ever had? The twitter account hasn’t been that active and I feel like I know little to nothing about this years team only 3 days out from start of season.
There's been lots of content, but the team should have had more long-form interviews with Dome and Reyna to give us more of a look inside the why and how this year's roster was created. I feel like they're doing more content this preseason, but virtually none of it has been enlightening in any way. The "podcasts" were good and kinda sorta got there, but they were far too superficial and asked no actual questions. It was like they wanted to give the appearance of access without actually doing it.
 
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BxLio91

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It wouldn't help the lack of confidence the fan base has in Domè if they came out, gave us a bunch of corporate talk then a few weeks into the season the results completely went against what they were trying to sell.
 
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