NYCFC: Pirlo, Lampard, Stadium Woes & NFL distractions
Post by Luca Morganti
After the opening weekend of American football, football becomes less important to Americans. As violent and troublesome as the NFL has been in recent years, we still turn a blind eye when it’s time for kickoff. I’m a huge hypocrite myself – one of the most egregiously violent players last year now plays on my team, the Dallas Cowboys. Both of these facts of American life are sad, especially as NYCFC played FC Dallas and Toronto FC this week, two of the year’s surprises in MLS.
NYCFC lost 2-1 in Dallas after conceding two typical NYCFC goals in four minutes during the first half stoppage time. I think there were eight NYCFC fans in Dallas, a symptom of playing in such a large country. Sadly, FC Dallas attendance is down 9%, according to the club, and it will only get worse as the NFL season encroaches on MLS.
NYCFC had a Bye week leading into the match against FC Dallas, and as per usual, not every other team did because apparently a seven-year-old schedules MLS. So fans took to the message boards to cause drama because why not make shitty theatre somewhere? New supporters groups formed because the originals sucked – or something petty as that and in the same spirit. One new group wants to be ultras. Well, I have bad news: ultras have a political message and a point – and it’s not just being an egotistical asshole (although that is certainly part of it!).
Then at our weekday home game four days later against Toronto FC, some supporters decided to protest outside the stadium for the first half because of the treatment of a fan by NYPD and Securitas. And then they decided shortly before the match that showing support to the team in the famed playoff hunt was more important, but they’d leave for a part of the game and not sing to show their disapproval from the stands. What a pleasant surprise... it sort of worked. NYPD were said to have apologized and spoken to supporters, opening up a dialogue we haven’t seen in the stands thus far. Ironically, the team scored two goals and won.
This was posted to social media and used as a rallying cry for protesters to show their displeasure in the stands. Amazingly, no one noticed that these two signs are about money, not the treatment of the fans.
That is where the issue lies: the results are rarely what supporters are talking about, and they take credit for the good but not the bad. There seems to be a fog of bullshit behind the call to “support the team by singing the way sing, support your brother against the NYPD and Securitas, etc. etc., and if you don’t do that with us, then you are not a fan or helping lead us to victory.” It’s flat out obnoxious. Supporters couldn’t make it through one year without the firing of the president of the Third rail, fighting within and between supporters’ groups in the same three sections that hold maybe 1,000 people, and a whole array of pettiness not seen since kindergarten. And we’re supposed to follow these guys, the “noise-makers.” I’m OK, thanks.
Then there are complaints about the lack of progress on a stadium. It took the Red Bulls two decades to get a stadium in the middle of nowhere (New Jersey). They couldn’t get one in New York City for the same reason we can't now, so it's going to take a while. Oh, and you know what won't help us get a stadium or your brother in support? Igniting flares when they told you not to, because we are renting from the Yankees, the fourth most valuable sports franchise in the world (guess who’s first? – the Dallas Cowboys). No need to get a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Yankees LLC because some asshole paying $18 for a seat wanted to play with fire.
Now to my favourite of the grievances against the poor NYCFC fan base: Pirlo and Lampard. The treatment of these two legends in New York thus far is sickening. After Lampard scored against Toronto FC while some supporters were outside the stadium protesting, most comments were along the lines of “about time.” That ignorance starts from the supporters groups as well, which is embarrassing. It shows a remarkable lack of understanding and respect for the game that haunts American football from top to bottom. There is no complex tactic or strategy to winning MLS games - if you run more, you win more.
Notice how David Villa is thriving? Why is that? I don’t think Andrea Pirlo is used to running by opponents for 90 minutes. We shouldn’t expect much from them after long campaigns, and we should be blessed that they decided to grace this wreck of a stadium and its bratty fan base with their presence.
It took less than one season of NYCFC to remind me what a demanding and spoilt fan base New Yorkers constitute. This, I think, is why only certain players can really play here. The final blow for me was missing out on the entire migrant crisis altogether. In a city filled with immigrants, children of immigrants, and first generation Americans, we should’ve been the first to get behind the movement, especially considering the insanely diverse makeup of NYCFC supporters. A spearheaded movement by a supporters’ group would’ve united everyone behind a beautiful cause. Instead, supporters are worried about protesting for an issue the very groups are helping perpetuate: mistreatment and misidentification of fans because some bastard is breaking rules.
I guess we just aren't lucky enough to look like everyone else because everyone's too busy bitching about stuff which shouldn't happen in the first place. The NFL may have turned the head of masses of soccer fans, but it's going to take a lot more than the NFL to distract NYCFC fans from their misery.