Sam Latham reports on a new MLS club that has experienced teething problems ahead of their inaugural campaign.

With the 2015 MLS season soon to begin all eyes will be focused on two cities, that of New York and Orlando. New York City FC and Orlando City FC are the new faces of the league and hoping to take advantage of what could be a record season for the MLS, with that we turn our attention to New York and the troubles they have recently had and the issues they could face in the long term.

In hindsight NYCFC could not have found themselves in a better position, being owned by two of the wealthiest sports clubs in the world, that of Manchester City and the New York Yankees. Once the expansion was set up plans were in action to try and make NYCFC the best franchise in the league. David Villa was signed and soon after Frank Lampard was also snapped up.

But from there cracks began to form, with the team half owned by Manchester City New York was put within the City Football Group and became affiliated with City, Melbourne City FC and Yokohama F Marinos. David Villa was sent out on loan to Melbourne to keep fitness levels up in preparation for the season ahead with the same apparently applying to Lampard with his loan to City. Both were set for a return to the states in January.

As the January transfer loomed New York fans were looking forward to the return of Lampard and Villa, only to be greeted with the news that the former would not be joining them until the end of the Premier League campaign in May. This led to all round confusion into who actually owned Lampard and later it was revealed that he was in fact contracted to City Football Group and could theoretically choose which club to play for each transfer window.

This leads to the issues surrounding NYCFC, namely being owned by two wealthy and powerful clubs like City and the Yankees. Who rules the roost in New York? Could any more players like Villa and co not actually be contracted to the club and instead be owned by City Football Group? Questions could also be asked about City’s intentions with New York. Do they genuinely want to run a club to win trophies, or farm players for Manchester City’s gain as a bypass of the new financial fair play rules set by UEFA? All questions will surely be answered over the coming MLS campaigns.

With problems surrounding transfer transparency and who plays for who, next came difficulties with the team finding a permanent home. For the upcoming campaign NYCFC will play their home games at Yankee Stadium, an issue within itself as the MLS season coincides with the Major League Baseball season, and with the two teams playing at the same stadium comes the nightmare of co-ordinating a football pitch onto a baseball field and continuously changing it over week by week.

Further ground complications have come to light over the past months with two proposed areas in Flushing and the Bronx rejecting plans for the club to build a stadium. Two new sites have since been chosen as alternatives, one in Queens and the other in Brooklyn, with the team hoping they can stick to the 2018 date they set to move into a permanent address.

With problems already facing the club at this early stage one can only hope that New York get a good start to the MLS season and put all the issues behind them, even with a rough road ahead of the club City Group and the Yankees have a fantastic opportunity, after the success at the World Cup for the USA team record crowds are anticipated for the upcoming season and with this they need to jump at the chance of bumper crowds.

All eyes will be on New York for the opening weekend of the campaign and the Third Rail – the clubs official supporters – will be hoping for a good start to the upcoming campaign with hopefully no further dramas. The MLS season kicks off on March 7th with New York Travelling to Orlando in a ‘battle of the newbies’ on March 8th, with New York’s first home game to be played on March 15th against New England Revolution.