NYCFC played the Long Game to Reach MLS Cup

    Discover how NYCFC’s long-term strategy and hard work led them to reach the MLS Cup. Learn about their journey to success and the key factors that made it possible.


    New York City Football Club, also known as NYCFC, has achieved an incredible feat by reaching the MLS Cup. The team’s journey to the final has been long and challenging, but they have finally achieved their goal. In this article, we will explore the factors that led to NYCFC’s success, from their early struggles to building a winning team and their road to the MLS Cup.

    The Early Years of NYCFC

    NYCFC’s journey to the MLS Cup began with their founding in 2013. The team was the first MLS franchise in New York City and was co-owned by City Football Group and the New York Yankees. The team’s first few years were challenging, as they had to build a new team from scratch and establish a unique identity in a crowded sports market.

    One of the biggest challenges for NYCFC was finding a home stadium. The team played their first two seasons at Yankee Stadium, but the small field size and poor playing conditions made it difficult for the team to play their best soccer. In 2019, NYCFC finally moved into their own stadium, the 25,000 seat capacity, state-of-the-art, soccer-specific venue, Yankee Stadium.

    Another challenge for NYCFC in their early years was finding the right coach to lead the team. The team went through several coaches, but it wasn’t until the arrival of Patrick Vieira in 2016 that things started to change. Vieira brought a new style of play and a winning mentality to the team, which helped to establish a foundation for future success.

    Despite these challenges, NYCFC was able to establish themselves as a competitive team in the MLS, making the playoffs in their second season. However, it wasn’t until the arrival of Vieira and the building of a strong squad that the team was able to take its game to the next level and reach the MLS Cup.

    The Arrival of Patrick Vieira

    Patrick Vieira is a French former professional footballer and manager who is widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time. In 2016, Vieira was appointed as the head coach of NYCFC, and he immediately made an impact on the team’s style of play and culture.

    Under Vieira’s leadership, NYCFC adopted a possession-based style of play that emphasized ball movement and creativity. This style was a departure from the more direct approach that the team had used in its early years, and it took some time for the players to adapt. However, once the team started to click, they became a force to be reckoned with in the MLS.

    Vieira also brought a winning mentality to the team, which was reflected in their performances on the field. In his first season as head coach, NYCFC finished second in the Eastern Conference and made it to the playoffs. Although they were knocked out in the conference semifinals, it was clear that the team was headed in the right direction.

    The Arrival of Patrick Vieira

    Vieira’s impact on the team went beyond just the on-field performance. He also helped to establish a winning culture within the club and set high standards for his players. This mentality was reflected in the team’s conduct both on and off the field, with players striving to be the best they could be.

    Perhaps the most significant impact that Vieira had on NYCFC was his ability to attract top-tier players to the team. In his first season, Vieira brought in several key players, including Jack Harrison, who would go on to become one of the team’s top performers. Vieira’s ability to recruit talent, combined with his tactical acumen, helped to transform NYCFC into a contender in the MLS.

    Building a Winning Team

    One of the keys to NYCFC’s success has been their approach to building a winning team. The team has focused on player recruitment and development, with an emphasis on finding players who fit into the team’s style of play and culture.

    NYCFC’s front office has been particularly successful in identifying young talent, with players like Jack Harrison, Alexander Ring, and Jesus Medina all coming to the team at a young age and developing into key contributors. The team has also been successful in identifying diamonds in the rough, such as Anton Tinnerholm, who was signed from Swedish club Malmo FF in 2018.

    Another key aspect of NYCFC’s approach to building a winning team has been their commitment to developing players from within. The team has invested heavily in its academy system, which has produced several talented players, including James Sands and Joe Scally. These players have been integrated into the first team, giving them valuable experience and helping to create a sustainable pipeline of talent for the future.

    Overall, NYCFC’s approach to building a winning team has been a combination of smart recruitment, player development, and a commitment to a distinct style of play. These factors, combined with the leadership of Patrick Vieira and a winning culture, have helped to establish NYCFC as a force to be reckoned with in the MLS.

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