Yes in one week we’ll be playing Chicago Fire, the club who was dead last, last year.
Chicago improved much and they play better. With the comming of Johan Kappelhof and John Goossens, the Dutch media is all over the Fire. First of all Kappelhof.
Kappelhof has been a great defender for FC Groningen the past couple of years. For me, and almost every other Dutch man, it was a surprise Kappelhof left FC Groningen. He played almost every game as a starting XI player, so why would he go to the MLS? I think, because of the fame and the lifestyle. In my opinion, he isn’t earning more money than he had at Groningen, but living in Chicago, one of the biggest cities in the USA, is attractive. It’s also a new adventure for t. MLS is a league, that improves with every season. When I was on S2E1, I said that every team improved and none is getting worse. So you want to be a part of the rollercoaster, that is only getting better. Sebastian Giovinco of Toronto FC came to the MLS for that reason.
On to John Goossens.
John Goossens has been a minor player at both Ajax and Feyenoord, but still, those two clubs in your history helps. You don’t have to play matches to learn, and that’s the case of Goossens. Goossens is the kind of player who can choose to be a star in a minor club or to be a substitute on a major club. He choose the second. It’s not a bad thing, but you want to play sometime. A dog can’t stay inside, it wants to be outside. So he went to some small leagues, leagues in Europe that don’t really matter. But again, it’s not a big club. And it’s a bit of a downfall. So he went to the USA to chase his American Dream and that dream comes to live in Chicago. He was on training with Chicago Fire -just like Ivanov for NYCFC- and played some pre-season matches. In one of those matches, he scored a goal which was out of this world. Picked it up out of the air and shot the ball as hard as he could in the net. Beautiful. It drew media attention here in the Netherlands, with headlines as ”the old dog, as good as a puppy”. I think the reason why Chicago got him, is of his experience in Europe. He played at many clubs, sometimes on the highest level and sometimes as a sub.
But is NYCFC ready for Chicago Fire and for the 21st season of the MLS?
I have three answers for that: YES, NO and Maybe.
YES: NYCFC found a solution to the problem last year: defence. With the likes of Brillant, White, Mataritta (such a hard name) and Martinez we should not complain about bad transfers (yet). We also picked up some midfielders. Another reason why I say YES, is because of our pre-season. We won almost every game, even against Montréal. One game we lost, but hey that can only be good. It keeps us awake and doesn’t make us cocky. With these facts I think we will win.
NO: We have new players, okay fine, but are those new players great teammates? With so many new players, it’s like we build up the club again from the ground up. Are all these players going to work together well? Is the new defence ready? Can we score goals and are our DP’s ready for the season? In my opinion, there are too many questions to be answered.
MAYBE: It’s a new season. New players are in and are unknown to the league. But we aren’t the only club who thinks this way, every club does (or do I need to say ”franchise”). Chicago Fire may as well think about us this way. We are all unknown to eachother and we both don’t know what to expect from eachother. The chances are 50/50 for all of us.
At last I want to say that I hope NYCFC gets some silver. I don’t care what kind of silver: US Open Cup; Eastern Conference championship or MLS championship. It’s all good to me, but this team is too good to have an empty trophy cabinet.
What do you think? Is NYCFC ready for the season? We’ll find out in one week.