With one last match on their inaugural schedule, NYCFC dedicates their hopeful win to their loyal supporters.
As New York City FC prepares to pull the curtain on their inaugural season in Major League Soccer — one of which that will not see the Blues become just the third expansion team in league history to make the playoffs in Year One – they look to dedicate their potential win over the New England Revolution (7 p.m. ET, YES) not just for themselves, but for their vast supporters’ base Sunday evening in the Bronx.
“I think we head into this match feeling that everything we are trying to do is for our fans,” head coach Jason Kreis said after training on Thursday. “I really feel that the fans have been absolutely terrific all year long. We want to give them something back; we want to put on a terrific performance for them. We are hopeful that we can do that and give them everything we have, walk away with the three points and our heads held high.”
Midfielder Frank Lampard, who didn’t arrive in the Big Apple until May and didn’t “officially” make his NYCFC debut until August 1st, agrees with his boss’s statements.
“We have to finish well in front of the home fans,” he explained. “We’re disappointed we did not make the playoffs but all we can do is prepare in the usual way and try and put on a good performance and get a win.”
A win would be the perfect ending to what has been a season full of inconsistencies. NYCFC (10-16-7; 37 points) enters Sunday’s finale with back-to-back losses following a three-match winning streak that kept them alive in the playoff chase two weeks longer than they probably should’ve been in it. They take on a Revs team on Sunday evening that hasn’t won in their last four matches, scoring just two goals during that span.
These are two teams, however, that are very familiar with each other. The Blues defeated the Revolution 2-0 in their “Historic Home Opener” back on March 15th as captain David Villa opened his MLS tally with a goal in the 19th minute and Patrick Mullins scored off of the bench on his first touch in the final minutes.
The Revolution got their revenge in mid-July, defeating a then-struggling NYC side 1-0.
The biggest question surrounding NYCFC on the final Sunday of the season is whether or not this team is able to step up to the challenge.
The Blues had their opportunity to sneak into the postseason if they were able to win six straight matches, a feat in itself, however their inability to defend in their third of the pitch, let alone their inability to create anything in the attacking third led to their back-to-back losses, and their exit from the playoff race.
Like the Revs, NYC has scored just twice in their last two losses, being outscored 4-2 overall.
“We’re looking at winning this game as if this would be our start to the season, a new season of course,” rookie Khiry Shelton said during Friday’s practice at Yankee Stadium. “But we’re doing it for our fans and we’re thankful for their support this season.”
A win would not only give the fans something to be excited about, it would give the Blues some much-needed momentum going into the offseason, let alone their 2016 campaign. All three designated players (Lampard, Villa and Andrea Pirlo) have already verbally stated that they won’t go on loan to play elsewhere and are dedicated to helping build this club and, for the first time, the team will be the closest to fully healthy as they have been all year – the only exceptions not available being Tony Taylor, Connor Brandt and George John.
For the first time all season New York City supporters and fans will get a chance to see what NYCFC is really about; what the Blues can really do on the pitch. They’ll have all three big-name DP’s on the Yankee Stadium grass and full-depth on the bench.
Fittingly, for a first year team, everything comes together in the very end. But still better late than never.
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