Co-owned by English Premier League champion, Manchester City and the 27-time World Series champion New York Yankees, New York City F.C. is flush with money, an enviable venue to play in (Yankee Stadium) and a front office set on making the soon-to-be named New York side the première brand in American soccer.
With Ferran Soriano as CEO, former Real Salt Lake manager, Jason Kreis on the sidelines and former US men’s national team standout, Claudio Reyna as director of football operations, New York looks set for success. The only thing that’s missing from the City sky blue and Yankees navy blue color palette of New York City F.C. are the Yankees’ storied pinstripes.
While it may seem a little presumptuous to label a side who hasn’t even played it’s first fixture, “The Evil Empire”, thanks to the 80-20 partnership between two free-spending entities in Manchester City and the New York Yankees, New York City F.C. is set to become MLS’ most deep-pocketed—and most reviled—side in soccer.
Couple that in with a built-in derby with the cross-river New York Red Bulls, over in neighboring Harrison, the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United down I-95, and MLS has the makings of a nice four-team rivalry involving both New York teams, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.
Every evil empire needs an enemy, a perennial foil that fro time to time rises up and presents a challenge—an obstacle—that must be overcome to meet their goal.
In Star Wars, the Empire had the Jedi, Notre Dame has USC, in MLB, the Yankees have the hated Boston Red Sox, since natural hate and enmity between a New York-based sports team and a Boston one is inevitable. That being said, New York F.C.’s first fixture with the New England Revolution will be one of many memorable clashes on par with co-owner Manchester City’s annual grudge matches with local rival, Manchester United.
And you can’t have a New York team not have a rivalry with a West-Coast based team right?
Considering what David Beckham did in coming to America and pulling a Christopher Columbus act of putting MLS on the international map, thanks to their bevy of star power and proximity to Hollywood, a New York City F.C.–LA Galaxy bi-coastal rivalry seems only natural. And for older soccer fans, it would bring back warm and fuzzy memories of the NASL and the Johan Cruyff-led Los Angeles Aztecs clashing against the Pele/Franz Beckenbauer New York Cosmos.
Also, you can’t leave out the Clint Dempsey-led Seattle Sounders F.C. and their raucous and loud Emerald City Supporters anxious to always openly shout their disapproval for any star-studded team from Gotham—just ask the ‘95 Yankees.
With Lampard and Villa set to fill two of the three spots for designated players allotted to all MLS clubs, New York City F.C. is ready send a message that they aren’t afraid to spend and will spend freely as per The New York Daily Post indicate that Barcelona maestro Xavi is New York’s third target.
With a star-studded and veteran-lad side of Xavi, Villa and Lampard, New York City F.C. is primed to be a big draw—both on the road and at Yankee Stadium, and like it or not, New York F.C.’s unwilling role of MLS’s “Evil Empire” maybe just what American soccer needs, a team all fans can love to hate.