Forty Shades of Blue: St. Patrick’s Day with NYCFC

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - March 11: Maximiliano Moralez #10 of New York City defended by Will Johnson #4 of Orlando City during the New York City FC Vs Orlando City SC regular season MLS game at Yankee Stadium on March 17, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

BRONX, NY (March 23, 2018) – What can one learn from spending St. Patrick’s Day with NYCFC? Perhaps everything. Perhaps nothing. Or perhaps forty things. Lets see.

Forty Shades of Blue: St. Patrick’s Day with NYCFC

  1. Nine points from three matches? Good lord. The team didn’t get nine points in its first season until late October I think.
  2. Not taking anything away from Ismael Tajouri, but that first goal was a gift, and you could see it eating up Kreis in the press conference after the match
  3. That said, congrats to him for scoring. We’ve all seen folks put that over the cross bar.
  4. Oh and let’s not forget his brilliant little spin move in the 64th minute. Really quite lovely.
  5. Sean Johnson coming out of the box to kick the ball away in the first half is testimony to how much he’s developed in the past year. Last March, no way he’s in the right position to make that play.
  6. I could watch RJ Allen and Ben Sweat duke it out all day long. Two physical players playing physically. Keep it up.
  7. Speaking of RJ, seeing him call out to Jason Hernandez (who was on hand to call the match) “Hey Roomie!” upon emerging from the locker room, was terrific.
  8. In spite of the win, the team looked flat. This was not the team that dominated the Galaxy for most of the last match.
  9. That said, this was NYCFC’s first win against a conference opponent, and as we have said in the past, that’s kind of like double points. So I’ll take it.
  10. Glad to see Tommy McNamara get on the pitch. Not because it was St. Patrick’s Day with NYCFC and he holds an Irish passport but because we like seeing him on the pitch.
  11. Also because he holds an Irish passport.
  12. Jesus Medina has some serious game. Really. Okay okay, you knew that. But as Jack White will tell you, it bears repeating.
  13. I think I know the answer to this but I’ll ask you anyway – why were Jesus Medina and Maxi Moralaz constantly running into each other on the pitch?
  14. That goal by Maxi Moralez was nice. But the real beauty was the give-and-go passing that led up to it. NYCFC keeps that up, they’ll be hard to beat.
  15. Nine out of ten doctors agree: Maxime Chanot’s head is harder than Jonathan Spector’s head. Don’t get me wrong, I LIKE Jonathan Spector, and this in no way diminishes my respect for him.
  16. As much as I like NYCFC, I am not yet convinced they are what the popular press would call “for real” yet. Two of the teams they beat are currently in ninth place, and one of Sporting KC’s wins came against the winless Chicago Fire.
  17. Are Orlando as bad as their record, though? I don’t think so. I think they have the pieces, and they’re the kind of pieces Kreis can work with (as opposed to World Cup-winning DPs). They could be tricky later in the season.
  18. Still love the way Alexander Ring plays. Almost always in the right place at the right time. Tough, smart, focused. Only thing he doesn’t do is score, but that’s what the team has David Villa for right?
  19. Good to see the team play early on without Villa. Yes, I know, he was injured so it wasn’t a “decision.” But this experience will pay dividends in the future.
  20. To that point, when the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup rolls around, how many of the players we saw today are in the Starting XI? Or said another way, does the Starting XI look more like this squad, or the team that beat Sporting KC?
  21. Seeing Ronald Matarrita with a towel over his head after coming off the pitch was worrisome.
  22. Seeing him hobble around the locker room, was even more so.
  23. Is it fair that NYCFC fans consistently booed Sacha Kljestan every time he touched the ball? Probably not. Funny? Hell yes. But fair?
  24. Will they boo Dax McCarty that way when he comes to town in September? Fans missed the opportunity last season because he was still with the national team. Stay tuned.
  25. Orlando seemed weirdly devoid of attacking ideas. For most of the first half it looked like they were just hoping to catch NYCFC’s high line napping by chipping the ball long. What is this, 1987?
  26. Maybe it’s because they miss Dom Dwyer. Or maybe it’s something more serious?
  27. Have I gotten this far through St. Patrick’s Day with NYCFC without mentioning Yangel Herrera? My apologies. The kid is maturing before our eyes.
  28. Yes it’s frustrating that Rodney Wallace hasn’t scored, but that’s not what his real value is to the team. It’s his physical, right-down-your-throat-intimidation play on a team full of small young players. He and Ring add that aspect that NYCFC has lacked in past seasons.
  29. Orlando had to be happy with a scoreless draw at half time. They certainly didn’t look as dangerous as NYCFC.
  30. We know that Alex Ring, Rodney Wallace and Ronald Matarrita were scheduled to miss the match against the New England Revolution because of international duty. Take Ring and Wallace out of this match and I’m not sure NYCFC win. So how does that bode for Gillette?
  31. And looking at the players on the pitch today, you have to ask yourself how many of them will be on the squad when NYCFC have their own stadium.
  32. Hats off to the guys in kilts playing at half time. Talked to them before the game. Asked them if it was a cold day to be wearing a skirt. They laughed and poured themselves another cup of coffee.
  33. The NYCFC press box has the best food of any of the press boxes I’ve been too, but a tip of the cap to them for not forcing Corned Beef and Cabbage down our throats on St. Patrick’s Day with NYCFC. I love Ireland as much as the next guy, but even I have my limits.
  34. The Irish Tenor was a nice touch to sing the national anthem, but next year can we get Shane McGowan? Asking for a friend.
  35. Would a green kit have killed us? The New York Knicks have done it, so why not? Another thing to think about for next year. Because we won’t have another St. Patrick’s Day with NYCFC realistically until 2024 – when David Villa will be 43.
  36. Crowd was a little thin for the match – is this evidence of NYCFC losing fans? Or is it because it was St. Patrick’s Day in New York City and a bloody cold one at that? 18,000 when it’s 47 degrees is no picnic.
  37. Did anyone else notice that all of Patrick Vieira’s quotes during the press conference were lifted from directly from the poetry of William Butler Yeats? No? Okay, maybe I made that up.
  38. Someone asked me after the match “How long do you think this winning streak can…” but I punched him in the mouth before he could jinx it.
  39. I asked a couple of cops outside the stadium before the match if they’d rather be here or in the parade. They told me to move along.
  40. Blue City Radio’s Mike Anderer’s right – I gotta start writing these earlier.

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