Photo: Julienne Schaer
Who they are: The only team in the region that plays within City limits. Last season’s expansion club missed the playoffs but drew more home fans than all but two other MLS franchises.
Faces of the franchise: A starry trio of European footballers—midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard, and striker David Villa—joined the team as designated players in its first year but didn’t have much time together. As they find harmony, and young sensation Kwadwo Poku matures, brighter days should lie ahead.
Key addition: Despite trading for the top pick in the MLS draft (Jack Harrison, who is out with an injury to start the year), NYCFC might find that its success depends on how the players—especially on the defensive side—respond to first-time manager Patrick Vieira, former captain of the France national team and longtime Arsenal midfielder.
Fan club: The Third Rail (Sample chant: “I wanna Diskerud all night / And party everyday!” That would be for midfielder Mix Diskerud.)
Local supporters’ bar: Places near the stadium should work; other bars that hold away-game watch parties include Ryan’s Daughter, on the Upper East Side.
Match-day practicalities: Take the B, D or 4 trains to the Yankee Stadium-161st St. station, or Metro-North express trains from Grand Central Terminal to the Yankees-153rd St. station. Ticket prices per game are generally $25–$100.