I took a writing break from NYCFC’s last match against the Fire, which—by the way— was awe-inspiring. Thanks, Khiry Shelton, for your 90th minute brilliance and NYCFC as a collective playing with 10 men. Anyways, enjoy volume four below, because lots of interesting stuff happened on a very eventful day.
Meeting Jesús Navas and David Silva Was Totally Worth It (With Pictures):
The tri-state area is blessed to have Modell’s Sporting Goods all over the place. Where I am on Long Island—within a 10 mile vicinity— there’s, like, three Modell’s (too lazy to look up the locations). They always come in the clutch with their sporting goods, but also, their email list is, undeniably, glorious (except when they send me emails for their store credit card. Figures…a corporation is attempting to offer a college student a credit card…)
My parents and I get their promotion-laden emails constantly. We couldn’t care less about them – unless coupons are included. Because, you know, saving 25% off on any team-oriented apparel is always a gracious thing. However, it’s disconcerting seeing prices for certain things – like a Chris Johnson Jets jersey – at retail price when the value clearly looks deflated. (No Patriots joke intended, but I’ll take credit for it anyway.)
But let’s sweep the coupons aside for a second. The Times Square Modell’s on 42nd Street holds autograph signings. A couple years back, before I even knew about signing events there, Edin Džeko, Joe Hart, Yaya Touré and a few other Manchester City players were there for a Q&A session (and kit revealing, I believe), followed by an autograph and photo session.
This past December, I met Jeb Brovsky, Josh Saunders (aka the goalkeeping benediction), Kwame Watson-Siriboe, and the man of the hour… (and a half plus stoppage) David Villa! Waiting for three hours in the cryogenic cold was absolutely worth it. It was historic for myself and everyone else in line, because everyone in line had met the first four players in the franchise’s history, although everyone was converging on Villa.
But this time around, the same Modell’s emailed me a promo for a David Silva meet and greet, with Wilfried Bony by his side, only to be fooled by when I saw Jesús Navas sitting beside Silva at the autograph table. But hey, that’s fine with me. However, get your facts straight, Modell’s!
I didn’t wait nearly as long as the NYCFC signing. It took a languid three hours to walk in the store and get the autographs. Surprisingly, for a World Cup winner and a mediocre winger (this year, at least. Forgive me, Jesús), it only took 45 minutes to get in and take a swift photo with the duo. Splendid.
Please Abolish the “Puto” Chants and the Wave:
Remember this past World Cup? Remember when host nation Brazil and Mexico started using “puto” chants to try and get into any goalkeeper’s head? Oh, and remember how there was backlash over it, with people debating about the term being homophobic and racist?
I don’t feel like debating what “puto” actually means. Point is, the term generally has a negative connotation and it shouldn’t be the staple chant of any fan base. But that doesn’t matter, because ultimately, if you’re at any New York sporting event, chances are your eardrums are going to be abused with vulgar stuff (I do it all the time, but not “puto”).
But here’s the thing: The chants have transcended from the World Cup to USMNT friendlies, Liga MX matches and everywhere else. They’re everywhere and it’s like people want to conform because “But Mom! All of the cool kids are doing it!”
I sit in section 233B, which is a great section. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to sit around. From Danny to his friends (when they’re present), the experience is like being at a bar, people with beers in hand and raucous cheering. Most of us are a vivacious bunch, except, when other belligerents from other sections join in the empty seats in our section to cause a stir, which is exactly what happened at this game.
A few rows above me – in section 234 – a posse of loudmouths, who should have no business of being at the games, decide to be choir leaders. These guys are amazing, considering that they’re more disrespectful than entertaining. Then, what seemed to be a double date (two guys and two girls caressing each other while standing up, completely blocking my friend and I’s view for the remainder of the match), asked me if anyone was sitting in the empty seats in front of me. I like being nice and I said there’s no one sitting there. Looks like I’m changing my mind next time around…
Chanting “puto” and screaming “asshole” and “fuck you” each and every time the opposing team’s goalkeeper – in this case, Tyler Deric – sets up to take a goal kick is obviously disrespectful, but more irritating.
Tyler Deric Is an Amazing Shot Stopper:
You know, while we’re talking about Tyler Deric…sometimes, when you see the opposing goalkeeper (or any goalkeeper of that matter) make an astounding save on the goalline, there’s nothing you could do but say “wow” or “what a save.”
Deric did just that in the minutes approaching stoppage time, where he saved Jeb Brovsky’s diving header off of a nicely placed cross from fan favorite Kwadwo Poku. Everyone thought that was going in on my end. “YeaaahhhhhhAHHHHHOOOHHHHHHNOOOOOOOO,” was the crowds exact reaction.
Deric is one of the best shot stoppers in MLS right now. He’s made some brilliant saves in the past, like this one against Orlando City earlier this season (which they later lost after a blunder by Deric). With great positioning and anticipation of a rifling header, comes a great diving save on the line from a great MLS keeper.
David Villa Scores First Ever NYCFC Spot Kick…Thanks to Adam Nemec:
Every Adam Nemec loather that thinks each game he plays in is his swan song needs to shut up about him being a piece of hot garbage that can’t do anything outside of turning the ball over. He won a critical aerial duel in the box to force the handball in the first place. As a matter of fact, he won so many jostling battles, that NYCFC gained possession almost every time he won a header.
Something I do agree with is that Nemec isn’t the most mobile forward. Neither is Patrick Mullins, despite him almost curling a late game winner. But if it wasn’t for Nemec winning headers on every other goal kick/punt from Josh Saunders or every long ball from whoever launched it, the possession percentages would probably be heavily in favor of the Dynamo.
People must realize what a target man’s role is. Nemec doesn’t rely on flair or long shots, his purpose is to hold up possession and wait for the reinforcements to come forward. Certainly, Nemec isn’t fucking Mario Mandžukić, but he’s a supreme example of a “better than nothing” scrappy forward that does the dirty work.
NYCFC Under Tyne:
(Note to tourists of New York, this could actually be helpful train information, in case the subways become the Da Vinci Code).
This time around, I had to take an alternate subway route. Because I took the LIRR to Penn Station, I had to take the A or C line to 59th Street then transfer over to the B or D line, which gets me to Yankee Stadium. It sounds tedious, but when people master the NYC subway maps (and was weird as it sounds), they take casual subway rides just for the sake of doing it, despite an MTA hike every year or something.
You’d think that the experiences at the games are a fun sight. That they are, but coming back from the games are fun and at the same time, droll. I already encountered a Union supporter who, at first glance, was a nice dude turned into massive douchebag after speaking to him and a bunch of other conversations with people who had pungent smells of alcohol on them (and it wasn’t just their breath).
With the abundance of people who needed to be crammed on to the next D line corral, there was this one particular guy who looked like he just went to the beach. This guy was wearing flip-flops, massively short shorts and a shirt that said Brixton on it. I thought to myself “this guy has to be from the UK. But at the same time, that could be some guy from St. Mark’s Place wearing New York City’s version of French Connection’s “FCUK” shirts (damn, I’m old).”
Funny enough, the guy starts talking to me after a plentitude of gawky eye contact. “Hey lad, what a game it was tonight, eh?” he said. This guy’s accent was hard to rummage. He sounded Australian. Maybe this guy is a Socceroo?
“It was an epic game tonight,” I said. “It’s too bad Tyler Deric had to make that epic save on Jeb Brovsky near stoppage time.”
“Yeah, that was a terrific save from Houston’s keeper,” he said.
“Sometimes,” I said, “you just have to applaud. I go nuts when it’s the keeper I root for, but seeing astonishing saves like that, no matter who it is, are a sight to see.”
We spoke throughout the length of the ride.
“By the way, what’s your name?” he asked. “You seem like a knowledgeable NYCFC supporter.”
There was no way I was lying this time. This guy was way too nice.
“James,” I said. “Yours?”
“Where are you from, John? I take it you’re from the UK?”
“You guessed right.”
John and I started discussing the Premier League and what teams we both support. I said I’m an Arsenal supporter by default.
“The club I support is a club that has the best manager in the Premier League,” he said.
The Riddler showed up. But this sounded like a surefire Newcastle supporter, because I’m pretty sure John Carver said something like, um, being the best manager in the Premier League.
“I take it you’re a depressed Newcastle fan?” I asked.
“Boy, you are prophetic,” John said. “I think when I said ‘best manager in the Premier League,’ I gave it away.” Both of us laughed.
John and I then talked about the amount of games we’ve both attended. Of course, I’m a season ticket holder, so I’ve been to the majority of the games.
“I’ve been to three games this season,” John said. “The home opener against New England, Sporting KC and tonight’s game. How about you?”
“That’s cool,” I said. “I’m a season ticket holder, so I’ve been to every game, except their fixture against the Timbers, where they lost 1-0. Also, I see you’re one of the 43,000+ people who got to witness their first and only win so far.”
“Oh yeah, and it sure was a delightful win of epic proportions,” John said.
Exiting the train wasn’t easy, because John was one of those guys that could talk all night. I mean, he could have gotten off at 59th street with me for a drink (with a fake ID), but, alas.