Playoff games have been rare lately in this period.
New York sport largely ran out of these over the past year.
The Yankees have not made it past the ALDS in an eleventh failed run of a World Series title since their last in 2009. The islanders teased each other and made it to the Eastern Conference finals before heading out for the Stanley Cup. The networks were successful in the NBA’s playoff bubble.
The other six of the nine major sports franchises – you know who you are, Giants, Jets, Mets, Knicks, Rangers, Devils – didn’t even make it through the regular season.
On Saturday, New York will get two playoff games in one day, with both NYCFC and the Red Bulls starting their respective offers to deliver a first MLS trophy to their fans.
NYCFC, the fifth seed who finished 12: 8: 3 in the regular season, travels to Orlando (No. 4) (11: 4: 8) to play at noon.
The 9-9-5 Red Bulls, the sixth seed, play at 3 p.m. in Columbus # 3 (12-6-5)
Both are first round singles eliminations.
Brian White (right) has scored four goals in their last five games for the Red Bulls, including two dramatic overtime appearances.Getty Images
NYCFC have reached the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference for the last two seasons and failed to reach the final – last year by Toronto FC and the year before by Atlanta United.
Despite all of its recent playoff baggage, NYCFC enters this postseason with the sweep of a four-game winning streak.
The Red Bulls are also entering the postseason after playing their best football last month, playing 3-13 in the last seven regular season games.
So there is hope.
The Red Bulls’ best hope could be on the right foot of Flemington, NJ native Brian White, who has scored four goals in their last five games, including two dramatic overtime games.
In back-to-back games that the Red Bulls may have set alight for a postseason run, White helped save a 2-2 draw with Chicago with a goal in two minutes of stoppage time and then scored again at a 1-1 A draw in Orlando City equalized five minutes into overtime.
Although he said he felt like he was in a “good groove scoring goals”, White knows that in the playoffs it will be harder to get them.
“There is more at stake so everything is a little bit more busy than the regular season,” White told The Post. “At the end of this game there is something tangible, win or lose, so everything is a little bit more intense and a little bit harder to do.”
New York City FC goalkeeper Sean JohnsonGetty Images
If the Red Bulls want to create the surprise on Saturday, they will do it with a new head coach, Gerhard Struber, who is on the RBNY sideline for the first time. He replaces interim coach Bradley Carnell, who remains as an assistant on the staff.
The Austrian Struber comes to RBNY after a 13-year career, mainly in the Austrian Bundesliga, and as head coach at Barnsley FC and Wolfsberger FC.
It’s unorthodox timing, we live in a COVID-19 world where everything seems to be unorthodox.
“In the last few days the team has shown me that they are ready for a good fight on Saturday and that they can perform well,” said Struber. “I took over a team in a very good mood and [with] a good energy. Columbus is a massive opponent. We may need to take an accomplishment out of our comfort zone to take the next step. ”
The main “zone” NYCFC wants to get out of is the playoff disappointment it has seen with much of the same squad over the past two seasons.
“I think we are in a better position to do well this year,” said NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson, one of the senior team leaders, this week.
“We can beat anyone,” said NYCFC coach Ronny Deila in the first year. “We just have to seize the opportunity and really enjoy it.”
For New York sports fans, at least you have the opportunity to watch sporting events with playoff consistency, even if soccer isn’t exactly your thing and you don’t have a dog fighting in any of those Saturday games.
It’s something we didn’t have much of here.