(This article was written the night before Sunday’s match against Red Bull. I should have written it earlier in the week, but things were hectic. Apologies for the delay.)
It is hard to believe that New York City FC has already played 17 matches. A lot has happened in the first half of the campaign. New stars like Ismael Tajori-Shradi and Anton Tinnerholm providing special moments, David Villa, Alexander Ring, and Alexander Callens keeping their levels from last year, Jesus Medina starting off well and Jo Inge Berget finishing the half well. There is much to look forward to in the closing stretch. Numbers wise leading up to the mid-season point, this is pretty evident as well.
NYCFC have been improving since day one over the first three-and-a-half years. After 17 games, City has more points than any of the previous seasons, and look to be on pace to beat the 60 point mark this year. The Blues have yet to drop below the pace set in any season prior.
City are also looking to keep their goal differential above 0. This is something that NYCFC has yet to do in a single season. Only one time was the goal differential negative last season, and that was after the season opener. City bounced back with a 4-0 home opener win over DC United and the goal differential never dropped to zero after that. This season, however, City have yet to see a goal differential less than +2.
Personally, these two graphs makes me laugh. Remember the five straight games City played scoring two goals each? Goal scoring has not been much of a problem for NYCFC, only being held goalless twice and held to one twice. In fact, when New York City score two or more goals, the record is 9W-3D-1L. (The one loss was the previous match away to Chicago.)
Okay, the negatives. City have lost four in 17. But it takes a lot to defeat City. As the current season shows so far, opposition would have to score at least three goals for the Blues to lose a match.
Attacking looks better than ever, however defense has been better. Given that NYCFC now has a center back that is injured (Cedric Hountondji with a ruptured hamstring tendon), hopefully this prompts the front office to rectify this situation.
So now, to stretch a golf term, the back 17 is here. And it starts with a Hudson River Derby match. (Ugh, why did I mention conceding at least three goals just now?) Can NYCFC keep up this good mid-season form for the second half? We wait and watch to find out.
Interesting things to look out for in the second half: NYCFC have always lost on Matchdays 22 and 33. but have always won on Matchdays 18, 21 and 31.