By Nick Chávez
Did that just happen?
I know it’s hard to believe, but New York City Football Club didn’t blow it. I mean, they almost did by allowing Portland’s 94th-minute equalizer, but in the end, the good guys finally won.
You may have felt time slow down a bit following Alex Callens authoritatively-taken penalty kick. Is this real? Are they going to call it back? Timbers must have another kick to take!
Nope. New York City FC are the reigning Major League Soccer champions. We are the champions of the United States and Canada. It is official.
Despite Diego Chara’s most valiant efforts (props to a worthy adversary), it was actually our year, for once. And we can — and better — celebrate that.
And celebrate, we have. This is for all of the supporters who have been around since the beginning. Those that got excited and proudly advertised their NYCFC allegiance on social media in the summer of 2013 when the club was first announced to exist. Those who started showing allegiance in 2014 as the club news and signings ramped up. And those in 2015 who became official “Founding Members” and made Yankee Stadium a fortress.
The first-ever New York City FC Supporters Club meeting at The Football Factory– Which would lay the foundation for the original Third Rail — Organized by Chance Michaels on February 22, 2014
We’ve been taken for a ride in a lot of ways. Lampard showing up late. Vieira abruptly leaving mid-season. Relative neglect from CFG and the Yankees. Disappointment after disappointment with stadium news, dud DPs, FO ticketing okey dokes, and early playoff exits.
And I won’t even speak of the dark days of #BeanieGate.
Hell, We’ve had “journalists” and other MLS fans misrepresenting us during our entire existence. Hated from the get-go as “Man City Lite”, a “Man City Farm Team”, “plastics”, and a joke that plays in a baseball stadium. Viciously mislabeled by fans and journalists alike because of a literal handful of people who used to show up at games, as if the fans could control that in a city as diverse as New York.
Without a doubt, much of the talk about our club from the outside has been an exercise in character assassination. Many MLS fans and pundits never gave us a chance, and didn’t seem to want us to succeed.
And while the stadium wait painfully continues, succeed we did. This MLS Cup victory is for everyone who stuck with the team and believed in the potential greatness of a top-flight New York City soccer club. The potential of the most popular sport in the world played in the greatest city in the world. The beauty and excitement of building something here. Of our own.
As Odin famously told his mighty son Thor in the Marvel film Thor: Ragnarok, “Asgard isn’t a place, it never was… Asgard is where our people stand.”
With the frequent moving from stadium to stadium, and never being sure where home will be, it’s easy to feel like the uprooted Asgardians sometimes. But there’s wisdom in Odin’s perspective.
New York City FC may need to wait awhile for its stadium, but the club is not defined by which building it plays in, but by the team and the supporters that make up this NYCFC Family.
Travelling NYCFC Support Rolling Deep in Portland for 2021 MLS Cup Final Match Day. Away Days Are The Best Days.
That family travelled, on short notice, in impressive numbers to Portland. I suggest following @NYCFCNation’s twitter account for some great footage of the epic match day and celebrations afterwards recorded by my brother Jordan Griffith (Side note: Props to Jordan for seeing the potential of Taty Castellanos so early on, he called it on the NYCFP many times!).
I greatly regret not being there in person, but I am so happy for my NYCFC Family, truly united in euphoric and relieved celebration. Finally not getting our hearts broken in the playoffs. Being able to see our beloved, long-time servants to the club like Maxi Moralez (Tough as nails for staying on with the injured calf, and provided a great assist to Taty’s goal), Sean Johnson (Clear MLS Cup MVP — what a f***ing performance from the captain), Taty Castellanos (Clear choice for MLS Season MVP), the excellent defensive duo Alex Callens and Maxime Chanot, and even the young local boy James Sands (#BingBong), all transforming to bonafide club legends. To champions.
The raw emotion you saw on their faces, the way they embraced each other and celebrated shows you how much it meant to them to do this for each other and to finally give the fans what they’ve deserved for all that loyal support, going through all the bullshit that we have.
And in case the thrill of winning MLS Cup didn’t get your heart rate up, we even had our coach Ronny Deila providing the titillating eye-candy, as is his tradition.
Simply MoMA-worthy. (credit @DoctorHoosier)
This is a great team. What a powerful, focused, indomitable side. This 2021 post-season was unlike anything we’ve ever seen from a New York City FC side in the playoffs. So often we’d arrive and get off on the wrong foot, make a clumsy, fatal mistake, or seem lacking in conviction even if we had a strong regular season. But, not this team.
This New York City side was balanced, united, with a positively inextinguishable fire inside. The only option was to emerge victorious. There wasn’t going to be another way it was going to go. They weren’t going to lose this time.
Improbably, New York City won 3 straight away games to win the Cup, including defeating the team who had the most dominant MLS regular season ever, the New England Revolution. And finally, we have the greatest prize in MLS to celebrate.
I want to congratulate the NYCFC founding members, you know who you are. The men and women who helped launch The original Third Rail Supporters Club, who were there for the NYCFC Badge and Home Kit unveilings, the pub crawl, the exciting announcements of signing David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo and all those eventful moments along the way.
Thanks for creating our first songs, chants, tifos and cut-out Timbs. For always supporting, even travelling to support NYCFC in South and Central America on Champions League nights. Building a club culture from scratch is no small thing. Not when that club is New York City’s, with all of the diversity and differing ideas about football-supporting culture that come with that. That took serious effort and dedication, and still does. You deserve this one and many more.
Shout out to these #MLSCup Champions: @NYCitySC @templados12 @ThirdRailSC @NYC12SG @bxfsc @BrownBagSC @NYCFCNation @BlueBallsPod @BlueCityRadio @chickenbucketfc @NYCFCFOREVERPOD @SoccerCooligans @_JordanGriffith @TheAndresSoto @nyisblue @NYCFCForums @dudesinblue #NYCFC #COYBIB pic.twitter.com/rAznWG1Gs4
— #TeamKoolaid ⭐ (@Nostrachavez) December 11, 2021
I want to congratulate all of New York City’s fans, and especially the supporters groups and social clubs, past and present, like New York City Supporters Club, Los Templados, NYC 12 (“La Doce”)/Brown Bag SC, Bronx Football Social Club, The Hearts Of Oak, Chicken Bucket FC, The Minervas, The Blue Ladies, the community at NYCFC Forums, CT’s notorious “Blue Unit”, the legendary Goodfeather NYCFC Pigeon and of course the aforementioned Third Rail and all its chapters. What would New York City FC be without you?
NYCFC Supporters Pub Crawl circa 2014 with some of NYCFC’s Founding Fathers
I have to congratulate and thank the independent bloggers, podcasters and journalists like the NYCFC Nation Podcast/Blog/NYCFP (RIP), Blue City Radio, Blue Balls Podcast, NYCFC Forever Podcast, Hudson River Blue, The Outfield, The Soccer Cooligans, Empire of Soccer (RIP), Dudes in Blue (RIP), Spherical Podcast (RIP), NYCFC Blues (RIP), Soccer In The City, Skyscraper Blues, and NY is Blue (I’m sure I’m missing some, please let me know who!). As I know well, it’s very much a labor of love. But thanks for covering the team when the mainstream media often couldn’t be bothered. This Cup is definitely for you too.
Between all of us, we’ve created the foundation and culture for a club playing the world’s game in the world’s city. That’s quite a thing to do. And if that didn’t make you Champions already, then now you have a big, shiny, champagne-drenched MLS Cup to prove it.
Enjoy it, you deserved it.
Your boy Nick Chávez aka @NostraChavez
P.S. This is probably the last piece I’ll write about New York City FC, as I’m riding off into the sunset to live that casual fan life. That said, I just want to say it’s been a great honor and a privilege to write for all of you about NYCFC since 2013, as well as doing the New York City Football Podcast (NYCFP) via NYCFC Nation Podcast alongside Jordan, and with the great NYCFC media mogul Andres Emilio Soto’s production, during our run. I hope you enjoyed some of it.
I also want to say that I am really grateful for all the fine people I’ve met through NYCFC, as well as all of the readers and listeners who have reached out to me over the years in appreciation of my content, and I consider you all an extended NYCFC family to me. Thanks for all the love, New York. It means a lot and I won’t forget it. Always feel free to reach out to me at @NostraChavez on Twitter!
Everyone have a safe and Happy Holiday! Keep supporting and keep the faith with the Stadium! We’ll have our own home in the 5 Boroughs at some point, I’m sure of it! #TeamKoolaidForever #NewNewNewNewYorkCity4Life
#NostraChavez #PRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrr #CawCaw
Stand up for the Champions
For The City.
A little trivia for ya. #LOLTrending
— #TeamKoolaid ⭐ (@Nostrachavez) December 11, 2021