Taty Castellanos said goodbye to NYCFC. (USA TODAY Sports)
Consider the obstacles New York City FC faced this season.
The Major League Soccer defending champions were forced to call six venues home.
Midway through the MLS campaign, the Cityzens lost their head coach and shortly soon after their leading scorer.
That type of unprecedented triple whammy just might cripple a team for the rest of the season.
After enduring a nightmare 10-game winless stretch, City found itself and found a way to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs semifinals before losing to the Philadelphia Union.
NYCFC showed great resilience, regardless of in which stadium it competed.
the team’s home venues in four states included Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Belson Stadium (all New York), Red Bull Arena (New Jersey), Rentschler Field (Connecticut) and Banc of California Stadium (California).
Yet, City forged a 10-3-4 home mark while finishing third in the Eastern Conference with a 16-11-7 record and 55 points.
Things started getting shaky after head coach Ronny Deila left the club on June 13 to take on a similar job with Standard Liege in Belgium to be closer to his family in Norway. Nick Cushing was named interim head coach.
Things got worse when 2021 MLS Golden Boot winner Taty Castellanos was loaned to Girona FC on July 26 in La Liga. At the time, he was leading the team with 13 goals in 17 matches.
Castellanos certainly was a tough act to follow as no one on the team could come close to his total the rest of the season. Heber, who was dealt to the Seattle Sounders for as much as $550K in General Allocation Money on Thursday, was next with 10 goals, followed by Gabriel Pereira with nine and Talles Magno with eight.
Then came the 10-game winless skid, which contained eight losses and two ties until the Cityzens produced a 2-0 victory over Atlas (Mexico) in the Leagues Cup final. They got back on track in MLS action with a 2-0 triumph over the Red Bulls in the Hudson River Derby, rolling off a perfect 5-0-0 record the rest of the regular season.
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who eventually was selected to the U.S. men’s national team for the World Cup, was one of the most consistent bright spots, securing 14 shutouts behind center back Alex Callens. He enjoyed a superb season on both sides of the ball, but somehow missed out as an MLS Best XI selection.
City met its match with a 3-1 defeat at the Union in the conference semifinals on Oct. 30.
When the team gets together next month for preseason training, it certainly will have a different look without playmaking midfielder supreme Maxi Moralez, who joined Racing Club in his native Argentina, midfielder Nicolas Acevedo to Brazilian side Esporte Clube Bahia and Heber.
The Cityzens appear ready to bulk up on some more international players as they traded $325,000 of GAM and their natural third-round pick in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft to Nashville SC in exchange for two international roster spots for next season.