The 2021 Major League Soccer season will get underway in April as Columbus Crew SC look to defend their championship crown and Philadelphia Union look to repeat or improve on their Supporters Shield triumph. This season will see the addition of expansion team Austin FC which takes the overall number of franchises to 27. They will play their home games at the $240m Q2 Stadium in the North Burnet area of North Austin.
— Austin FC (@AustinFC) March 27, 2021
New Yorkers have yet to see a local team win the MLS Cup although the New York Red Bulls have won three of the last eight Supporters’ Shields. So, could this be the year the championship finally comes to the city?
What the bookmakers say
Of the two teams based in the city, New Jersey-based New York City FC stand the best chance of winning the MLS Cup according to the sportsbooks with a price of +1000 available at bet365, which is one of the top-rated operators at bookmaker comparison sites. In contrast, the Bronx-based Red Bulls are priced at +2000, ranking them joint-10th in the list. That means there are at least nine teams ahead of the Red Bulls in the pecking order according to the industry experts.
New York City FC
NYCFC have added depth to their defense with the acquisition of left-back Chris Gloster. The former Red Bulls prospect and US youth international made 21 appearances for the reserve team of PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands over the last two years having previously spent a year at Hannover in Germany. Still aged just 20, he could be a real asset for the Pigeons but he may have to bide his time as Danish left-back Malte Amundsen has also arrived in a $1.5m deal.
On the flip side, Captain Alex Ring has switched to Austin FC for $1.25 million while Ronald Matarrita was traded to Cincinnati after 5 years in New York. Even without the duo, NYFC look well set in midfield and will look to reap the rewards of their globally-respected scouting network. It’s a big season for sporting director David Lee and head coach Ronny Deila who have now had time to put their own stamp on the squad.
Ronny Deila Named #NYCFC Head Coach 🗽
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) January 6, 2020
New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls earned some cash from homegrown rights after Chris Gloster’s move to NYFC and have been quite busy in the transfer market. Colombian youth international Andres Reyes has come in at center-back while Tim Parker has left for Houston. Brazilian forward Fabio has also been recruited after impressing in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série B and also during a stint in Japan but the MLS will be a big step up for the 23-year-old.
English right-back Tom Edwards has also arrived on loan from Stoke City, while defensive midfielder Youba Diarra, goalkeeper Carlos Coronel, and striker Wikelman Carmona are among the other new names at Coach Gerhard Struber’s disposal.
No trophies expected in NY this year
In the last five years, only five of the 26 (now 27) teams have made it to the MLS Cup and breaking into that group is going to be tough for the New York teams. A more likely candidate to buck the trend is Los Angeles FC which looks primed for a championship push this year. NYFC may have an outside chance of challenging for the conference but we are not expecting any silverware in NY this year.