NYCFC had a slow start to the season, but have started to pick it up recently. Despite losing to New York Red Bulls on Sunday, results have been going in their favor. With the addition of Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, are NYCFC a contender for one of the six playoff spots in the Eastern Conference? That is the million-dollar question for the team founded this year.
NYCFC are certainly contenders, but they will have to work hard to get above their closest competitors. Currently, NYCFC are only four points back on sixth-placed side Columbus Crew, so the playoffs are certainly within reach. At this stage in the season, NYCFC need to become laser-focused as they strive for the playoffs.
It will not be an easy task for NYCFC, even with Lampard and Pirlo. Already this season we have season multiple changes in momentum and fortune for quite a few MLS teams. What NYCFC needs to do is ensure sustained winning results. If they can do that, David Villa and company will be destined for the playoffs.
The golden ticket in soccer of sustained winning results is difficult to achieve. It requires winning on the road, winning when your team is not at its best, and winning consistently. NYCFC’s next games are against, Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, New England Revolution, and Orlando City. These four teams are ahead of NYCFC and will fight for playoff spots as well.
If NYCFC are serious about their playoff push, they will be looking to take a minimum two wins and two draws from these games. Anything less will make the chase a lot harder for NYCFC. They need to narrow the four-point gap to the playoffs now, before letting it grow any larger.
I think NYCFC will be in a hunt for a playoff spot until the very end of the season. With Lampard and Pirlo, they have a strong chance, but cannot solely rely on these two to get the job done. The opportunity is there for NYCFC, but it comes down to ruthless execution in soccer. Without a doubt, the new signings can spark the push for the playoffs, but the whole squad needs to fight for it.
Even with players like Lampard and Pirlo, there will be an adjustment period. It takes a while for new players to form chemistry with older players. After the introduction and trial period, NYCFC will most likely find a winning combination in midfield. Once they adjust, it is possible that other teams will be at the mercy of NYCFC; it’s a matter of time.
So will NYCFC do it?
If you ask me, I say yes they will, but it will be a struggle. They are not going to waltz into the playoffs, but they can do it. I think NYCFC will finish fifth or sixth in the east, but will be striving for those places until the final weeks of the MLS season. It is going to be quite a summer for NYCFC.