NEW YORK — With a plethora of additions this offseason, New York City FC is expected to be one of the best teams in Major League Soccer this year. Before their home opener on Sunday, NYCFC held their annual media day this Thursday, thus allowing the media to ask any questions they may have about the status of the team.
Andrea Pirlo and Captain David Villa started off the day with a press conference in front of reporters. Immediately from the outset, questions ensued about retirement for both Pirlo and Villa.
“I don’t know if (this) will be my last season,” said Pirlo. “I will decide in the future.” Also, this was Pirlo’s first ever press conference done entirely in English! Well done, Andrea!
As for Villa, Villa stated that “in soccer, you never know what happens in a day or two days… everything changes every day.” “My mind is day to day,” Villa added. “My goal is to get stronger.”
“Andrea and me are still younger,” Villa joked later on. Both Pirlo’s and his attitude seemed focused on getting better every day and not thinking about their future until after the season.
Aside from the typical retirement questions, the state of the team was a favorite topic at media day. In a press conference before the start of the season, head coach Patrick Vieira said that it was “frustrating” not having all of the team together. With that taken into account, Villa did confidently state that the team was heading in the right direction.
“It is good. The most important part is the guys coming in are good guys,” Villa chirped. “I think we have a good atmosphere in the locker room… they are integrating into the team well.”
Following the press conference with Pirlo and Villa, I got a chance to catch up to new signings Alexander Ring and Rodney Wallace. Both players stated that they were “glad to be in New York City, ” but both were determined to do more on the field.
“I am happy with it (my performance.) I have been here two weeks, and I am okay with it,” said Ring when asked about his performance last Sunday. “We will get better with the more games under the belt, so I am not too worried.”
As for Wallace, a former MLS champion with the Timbers in 2015, Wallace feels right at home after his first few weeks with the team. “It’s a great group to be a part of, I am fitting in nicely, we are all in sync,” Wallace said. “Obviously, there are still some things to learn from each other, but overall we have made it easy for each other to glue.”
With new signings feeling at home with the team in less than a month, is it safe to say that this NYCFC could turn into a great team? Of course, it is. However, when asked about winning a championship, NYCFC veteran Tommy McNamara continued with the day by day narrative that his Captain David Villa set.
“The goal is 100% to win a championship,” iterated McNamara. However, McNamara was quick to state that there “is a lot to come before the MLS Cup Final.” McNamara continued to say that players need to be “focusing on the day to day, what can I do today to make myself better, what can I do to better prepare myself come time to win an MLS Cup.”
When walking out of the Media Day, I couldn’t help but feel confident in the team’s dynamic. All players had the same mentality, a mindset that encourages day-by-day actions and not overlooking anything. In this league, that is the correct attitude to have. Plus, it gives fans confidence when one of their star players declared that they want to win the title for you, the fans.
“We want to win for New York City,” declared Pirlo.
New York City will get their first chance to see that declaration in action on Sunday at 2 pm ET, as NYCFC takes on DC United in their home opener in front of an expected large crowd at Yankee Stadium.