You wanted Major League Soccer, City Football Group? You are getting it, and all of the ugliness that comes with it.
Sports, like life, can be funny in many ways. It was only a couple of months ago when supporters of MLS expansion side New York City Football Club were certain that their new shiny toy was going to be a hit right out of the gates, a team capable of hanging with the best of the best in the North American top-flight. That, of course, has not been the case, as even a team bankrolled by the likes of Manchester City and the New York Yankees has been unable to avoid the inevitable growing pains that would plague any squad patched together like an assortment of names selected via a fantasy draft.
There remains plenty of time for NYC FC to improve and find winning ways. Whether or not that will actually occur at some point in 2015 is the great unknown as the end of April approaches. Those who said it was going to be easy for Blue New York were silly.
It would not be a stretch to say that most detractors did not believe it would be this difficult for NYC FC.
New York City / New Jersey Soccer Power Rankings: April 27
3. New York City Football Club: Six points from eight games
That 12 of 20 teams, six from each conference, will qualify for the MLS Playoffs will always be ridiculous. The league is not changing its postseason system anytime soon, and thus no team should be overly concerned with results at this stage of the campaign. Nevertheless, earning 0.75 points per game one-third of the way into the season is not good for any team with big-name players on its roster.
D.P. continues to be short for “doesn’t play” rather than for “designated player” as it pertains to David Villa. Villa, who has had time to comment on how Barcelona are playing during the spring, was sidelined once again this weekend for what is reported to be a hamstring issue. Say whatever you will about the amount of talent Villa has left in the tank. I can think of two players in particular that NYC FC would be better off having rather than Villa as of April 27. They play for the Cosmos.
2. New York Red Bulls: 12 points from six games
What type of day was Sunday for the Red Bulls, you ask? New York needed this in order to find a second-half equalizer versus LA Galaxy. One would normally view a draw against the reigning and defending MLS Cup champions as a point earned. The Red Bulls likely are not feeling that way at the start of the week, however, as RBNY were far and away the better overall side and they should have netted no fewer than three tallies in what easily could have been another win for the red New York club.
The saying teaches that there is no rest for the weary, and the Red Bulls will be reminded of that this week. New York will have two off days before hosting Colorado Rapids for a Wednesday evening encounter that the Red Bulls should win considering the poor form the Rapids have been stuck in since the fall of 2014. While the Red Bulls are still earning two points per game, a feat only equaled by DC United in the MLS East, the New England Revolution have jumped up to the top of the conference table.
1. New York Cosmos: Eight points from four games
Anybody out there who still believes that the New York Cosmos do not have the goods to be a first-division side are either not paying attention or they are simply looking at the matter through biased eyes. New York was far and away the better side at the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday, and the biggest reason the Cosmos did not return home with all three points was that Atlanta was forced to sit back and play defensive soccer for the majority of the second half.
Marcos Senna and Raul continue to delight for the North American Soccer League side that is currently atop the table. Senna, 38-years old, can still drop a ball on a dime as if he enjoying a warmup in a backyard, while Raul does not resemble a professional who will turn 38-years old this coming June. Those two are a delight to watch, and they are making the Cosmos a thoroughly enjoyable team to watch in the early days of the NASL season, That club also happens to be one that is atop the league table on the final Monday of April.