The New York City Football Club has experienced consistent success for the majority of its eight years of existence. In addition to making the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, the Eastern Conference club has housed top-notch talent such as legendary players like David Villa and Andrea Pirlo as well as up-and-comers like 2021 MLS Golden Boot winner and forward Valentin Castellanos. But amidst such success, NYCFC has gone through tons of heartbreak too.
NYCFC's Latest Playoff Journey Is Not A Surprise
Followers of the club vividly remember those cold October and November nights where NYCFC would get knocked out of the playoffs at home in the first round. The club's losses against the likes of Columbus FC (2017) and Toronto FC (2019) shifted the franchise's direction and sparked several departures, whether it was Villa or previous managers Patrick Vieria and Domenec Torrent who all thrived during the regular season.
This year, though, it seems like NYCFC has learned from their past failures and now stands at the precipice of making their first MLS Cup. On Sunday, they'll have the chance to exorcise their previous demons when they go on the road to face off against the Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference Finals.
While this year's NYCFC club may not be as talented or accomplished, this group has a greater amount of grit and focus than they have in years past. Club veterans such as midfielder Maxi Moralez, goalie Sean Johnson, defender Alexander Callens, and Castellanos have accumulated years of important playoff experience, which sets the tone and positively influences the rest of their roster.
It's honestly not a surprise that NYCFC's path to an MLS Cup appearance, let alone a championship, comes in the form of being a road warrior as they travel to Philadelphia this weekend. Fewer things bring a team together than playing on the road and knowing the odds are against you all. But you know what else helps you accomplish your goal? Living in the moment and for NYCFC, they'll experience another one this Sunday.