Much of the criticism surrounding New York City FC since its inception has been around the club’s relationship with Manchester City FC.
New York City FC has been referred to as “Manchester City B” or the club’s “farm team.”
New head coach Patrick Vieira, who was formally introduced to the media Wednesday, wants to keep the two separate and give New York City FC, which failed to qualify for the playoffs its first season in Major League Soccer in 2015, its own identity.
“New York has its own identity that is not Manchester City,” Vieira said. “What would be really important for me is to give a proper identity to the team, to be really clear about how to play in possession or without possession. That will be really important. I would like to see the team reflecting what New York is all about.”
Yes, the two cities are different, but the teams … eh, not so much.
Aside from the general look — the “City blue” primary uniform, the Etihad Airways sponsor on the chest — being almost a mirror image, a possession-based style of play — also emphasized by former coach Jason Kreis — is the City way. It’s what the academy players are taught and it’s what the first team implements in the English Premier League. It’s how defenders Shay Facey and Angelino, who were on loan from the Manchester City Elite Development Squad (Under-21) last season, were able to fit right into the fold at New York City FC.
“The style is very similar to what I’m used to at City too, because Jason likes to have lots of possession and pass out from the back a lot – which is really helpful for me,” Facey said last February. “What Jason asks us to do is not too alien to anybody so everyone’s catching onto it and I think it’s working well, playing that style of football.”
Whether Vieira — a Frenchman born in Senegal — helps New York City FC develop more of a “New York” attitude is still to be determined, but the team will still and always be mentioned in the same breath as Manchester City.