Editorial (March 10, 2018) – Every season starts with hope. Every season starts with a dream. A belief that maybe, just maybe, this is the year the team pulls it all together, the year the passes connect, the year the saves are made, the year the points are taken at the key moments. That this is the year the team makes that epic run and hoists a trophy. If we didn’t believe this anew every season, why would we watch?
Daydream Believer: A look back at NYCFC’s 2018 Season
Fans of New York City FC of course, are no different. They spend the off-season learning new names, combing through obscure and arcane websites for news, and rumors, and rumors of news. And as the season begins, they make their predictions for the coming year. They voice their expectations on often the flimsiest of facts. On some pre-season matches streamed from south of the border. On gossip about closed door sessions.
Or, like me, on one win in the first game of the season.
So herewith, my predictions for NYCFC’s 2018 Season, based solely on what happened in Kansas City on Sunday.
1-Sean Johnson will shatter all goalkeeping records
With a clean sheet against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, it is reasonable to assume that Sean Johnson will not give up a single goal throughout NYCFC’s 2018 Season. That would give him 34 clean sheets, or basically twice as many as current record holder Tony Meola had in the 2000 season with, wait for it, Kansas City (though then they were called the Wizards, good grief). And he’d do it while making a projected 102 saves, which is none too shabby either.
2- Maxime Chanot will miss most of NYCFC’s 2018 Season
Not the entire season, to be sure. But a significant part of it. Because if we can go by what we saw in Kansas City, he’ll pick up a red card every game he plays in – which is a lot of red cards. And which means he’ll sit out 2/3rds of the season. That is, if Don Garber doesn’t just kick him out of the league for being the kind of player who picks up 11 red cards in one season. Last season, Jelle Van Damme led the league with 3 red cards, as did Kendall Waston in 2016. So 11? Yikes. Put down the espresso, Maxime…
3- David Villa will have an uncharacteristically scoreless season
The worst goal scoring season El Guaje ever had was when he made four appearances in the Australian A-League in 2014 for Melbourne City – and he still managed to score two goals. But if Sunday night was anything to go by, NYCFC’s 2018 Season will be Villa’s worst season ever. No goals. Zero. Nada. Zilch. No assists either. Incredible. Did anyone see that coming? I know I didn’t.
4- On the other hand, Maxi Moralaz and Jesus Medina will share the golden boot in 2018, with an astounding 34 goals. Each.
The current record for most goals in a season is 27, held jointly by Roy Lassiter (Tampa Bay Mutiny, 1996 – remember them?), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes, 2012), and Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls, 2014). This would be a lot more than that. And imagine the drama as week after week these two NYCFC stars duke it out for the scoring title. It would be like Mantle and Maris when they were chasing Babe Ruth’s record in 1961. Except, you know, if Mantle and Maris were Argentinian and Paraguayan.
5- Tommy McNamara will not play a single minute. Not one minute.
Based on my projects from Sunday’s match, NYCFC’s hometown favorite, Tommy Mac, won’t see the pitch all season long. And what’s more, neither will Saad Abdul-Salaam, or Kwame Awuah. And Cedric Hountondji won’t even make the starting 18. Neither will Jonathan Lewis or Ebenezer Ofori or James Sands. And Jo Inge Berget whom we’ve heard so much about? Apparently will spend the entire season on injury. You have to ask yourself, if Patrick Vieira isn’t going to play these guys at all, why is NYCFC paying them?
6- NYCFC will win the Supporter’s Shield – and blow Toronto FC’s record out of the water.
You think Toronto was good last year with 69 points and a 37 point goal differential. Big deal. Based on Sunday’s match, NYCFC’s 2018 Season will end with 102 points and a goal differential of 68. Which means they get to bring home some important silverware. Plus they’ll easily qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League spot vacated by Toronto FC. But most importantly, they’ll get a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Which they’ll need since clearly Patrick Vieira only plans on playing 14 players this season.
So NYCFC’s 2018 Season sounds pretty rosy, right? Hold on. Because I just noticed something, some new insight that Sunday’s match in Kansas City illuminated – NYCFC haven’t won a single game at home this season.
Oh boy. So it’s entirely possible that I everything I just wrote is wrong.
I’ll have to check my numbers and get back to you.