By: John Rojas – @jrojasa75
He hinted after the last game of the season, Dome Torren may not be NYCFC’s coach in 2020. Before that day, he drops here and there some frustrations with MLS schedule, trips, and some of his club situations.
But it was on October 16th when he decided to put together all his deep feelings during a long and complicated season. He did it speaking in Spanish with the podcast SE LLAMA SOCCER ( @sellamasoccer ) in an interview conducted the day before a friendly game with Chicago Fire, in the middle of a recess and before the Conference Semifinal that NYCFC ended up loosing with Toronto FC.
Those words became again relevant when the rumor of his exit from New York City FC was again strong on the days before of the MLS Cup Final.
Here is a translation of that conversation (you can here the original chat in Spanish here: ( https://us.ivoox.com/es/1×39-se-vienen-playoffs-dome-torrent-audios-mp3_rf_43199894_1.html?autoplay=true ) in the same order of topics that the hosts conducted and divided by topics headlined by the initial question each time.
ON BREAK BETWEEN REGULAR SEASON AND CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
“I’m trying to see how I can digest this because it is not easy. To stop when the team is playing in great form and have to wait 18 days to start the competition again.
You find here some things that are very different. The competition stops for 18 days, you can’t train with a full squad. I gave seven players out because of the International Break. But I’m trying to convince my players that there should be no excuses.
The other element is that most likely we won’t play on our Stadium. As you know, it’s a baseball stadium. We don’t have our own stadium, we share the baseball stadium with the Yankees and they are playing their Playoffs. It’s always an issue after another. But it is what it is.
This is the way that we should compete this Playoffs and there should be no excuses. We are preparing to play out of our stadium, after 18 days of break and preparing with seven absent players. But we will see and try to see if we are able to win the first game. Because being a one-off game it’s even more complicated. Because, if someone makes a mistake or the referee makes a mistake, you are out of the competition”
A POSITIVE SIDE OF THE BREAK GETTING PLAYERS BACK FROM INJURY
“The real advantage is that you don’t play the first game (of Playoffs), that is the positive side of this. The other one, as you mention, is that if you have injured players you have extra time to recover. But once again, we have seven players traveling or about to play one more game with their National Teams. Right now we are only 14. It’s complicated, some of them have 7 or 8 hours flights, they come with tire legs, Jet-lag.
So imagine if we didn’t finish first. We would have to play on the 19th (October), many of the absent players will get here the 17th or 18th, with a game on the 19th. These are things that I don’t understand. I really can’t understand it. Maybe I’m too conventional but I haven’t been able to understand it.
If we would have to play on the 19th, seven important players wouldn’t be available or would have to play right after a 7 or 8-hour flight. But that is the way the MLS is, with its good things and the not so good things.
ON PLAYING AT CITI FIELD AND FIELD DIMENSIONS
“No, no that it’s another baseball stadium. Sometimes it makes me laugh when I think about this, seriously.
We can’t train in this stadium that we will play in. It’s another baseball stadium that I don’t even know how it is. We will see it the day before, I have been told that the measurements are very similar to the ones at Yankee Stadium. So we won’t miss that.
But everything else is different. It is what it is because the team doesn’t have its own stadium. The stadium is a Yankees’ property and they have priority. Despite all this, we will try to compete and get to the final if it is possible. But everybody should be aware that everything right now issues”.
AFTER A COMMENT THAT ANDONI IRAOLA MADE ON YS DIAGONAL SETTING AND HAVING A HARD TIME ADJUSTING VISUALLY.
“It’s right, it’s right. I share that sentiment completely. Not only because of the dimensions of the field ( in Yankee Stadium ) but on top of that It is estranged because of the diagonal set up. Your eyes will get used to it little by little, but it is hard to understand all this. Even for the spectators ( chuckling ) is not easy because the filed is diagonal and very far from the stands.
We may have a little bit of advantage in that because playing here every other week or so, you may get used to it. But even with that is not easy. Visually it’s a different story. When you cross the ball is hard because you don’t even know where the lines are. Playing here as a home team gives us a bit of advantage because you may sense where the lines are. But I agree it is not easy”.
ON DAVID VILLA’S REPLACEMENT AND A FEW PLAYERS PICKING UP THE GOALS
“To replace David is basically impossible. That is why I said during the preseason that replacing David would take an effort from the whole team. It’s very hard to sign a player like him who give you the performance that he gave to New York.
When you can’t – financially or for many other reasons – to sign a player to replace him, you have to look for four or five players that together can help with that amount of goals or a bit more.
I chose Taty because I knew that he would be able to have this leap. His leap has been incredible. And after watching a lot of tape and games, pointed at Mitrita and Heber.
We started the season without a proper number 9. You have to know that Heber was our 9th option. When I chose Heber he was the 9th option. This means that the club couldn’t sign the first option or the second, for many reasons, sometimes financial reasons, some times because said player in the last part of the process decided to stay where he was.
But the fact here is that Heber was the 9th option and then when I said this is the player, we took 50 days to sign him, we took too long to do it. So we started without a proper number 9, the team played well but we lack power. We played better than the opposition, but at the end, we tie and tie.
The people have to know that from 24 teams we are in the middle of the table in terms of salary budget. New York City impacts because of the name of the city but looking at the league it is comparable to Espanyol Barcelona.
Because of 20 teams in La Liga, Espanyol Barcelona is the 10th on players’ budget and in NYCFC we are the 12th between 24. This is something that many people don’t know and maybe because of this we couldn’t sign the exact player that would replace David Villa like for like because that wouldn’t fit in the budget”.
ON IF HAVING A DIFFERENT NUMBER 9 WOULD MAKE THE SEASON DIFFERENT FOR NYCFC
“I have no doubt, I have no doubt. Again, the first six games we tied five and lost one. But for example, we played against LAFC, the team that won the Regular Season. And we played better even though we ended up tying the game. So I have no doubt that having from the beginning a player like Heber, we would be talking about the chance of winning the Supporters Shield. I’m convinced of that”.
ON KEATON PARKS GROW
I agree with that. The thing that he changed the most is that at the beginning he would focus only when he had the ball. This is very American because American players go forward and forward without even thinking.
After the first game he played 20 minutes, I showed him how I asked him to play as a second central midfielder and how he would end up every play in the box. I showed him how his work in that position was different.
You could see that he was a kid ready to learn and ready to work on training, with qualities that he already had and I think we helped him to understand tactically the difference of playing with and without the ball. His leap has been something similar to the one Taty did”.
ON MEDINA’S SEASON
“It’s complicated because now we have a lot of competition. Sometimes we played even with five attacking players. The thing is that players like Keaton and Taty didn’t give up a second in training, they reveal against the situation that put them behind. I always told them that they should never give up and that they should show in every training that they are ready. Medina started the first seven games and it was a coincidence that Heber came, we started to win games and Jesus couldn’t make the 11 when we won. When those kinds of things happens you could reveal or fall a bit and that is the big difference between Keaton, Taty, and Jesus”
“We had him last year training and I saw a lot of qualities on him, (he is) very bright, who understand very quick the tactical instructions of his position and who can play either in front of the defense or as a center back in a line of three with a really good first pass.
But his ability to understand different systems and read the game makes him ready to play even in Europe. I have no doubt. It’s a shame that he broke his arm and when he came back he broke his collar bone.
For me he is one of the big promises of football in the United States, I have no doubt. He is ready to play in Europe, maybe not in one of the top but in any other team in Europe”.
ON MATIAS ALMEYDA STAYING WITH SJ
“It’s great news for the League because he is a great coach. The only thing that the press talked about was the marking man to man, but no one talked about the other great things they did. I think that in the last part of the season they were hit with some wrong calls. Mistakes from the referee that can happen, but impacted their results lately. If they had had some luck with that I have no doubt that they will be laying the Playoffs.
I believe that the best team playing against us in our stadium was San Jose”
ON WHAT MLS NEEDS TO BE BETTER
“Nobody can ignore that MLS is growing a lot and it is a fact. But there are three things that can make it better.
One is the schedule, we played this year three games in seven days four times. It’s impossible to play at a high level like that.
The other is the long trips. In NBA when you fly to the other Coast you play three or four games there. But here (MLS) you travel for so long to play one game, come back and flight again.
And the other thing would be to respect the International Breaks. If they respect that, as the rest of the world does, they use more charters and with more normal scheduling, I think the league would be a lot better”.
ON CONCAHAMPIONS IN 202 AND MAYBE AN NYCFC’S APPROACH PLAYING WITH MORE YOUNGSTERS IN MLS
“It all depends. If I’m here or not. If I’m here I will try to give more time to academy players. I have to go to Manchester as any other year. Depending on who is in charge, the approach will change. I trust in the quality of the youngsters and I don’t focus on age. If I’m here, we will try to develop more players”.
ON STAYING IN 2020
“I understand that if the team doesn’t win that game against DCUnited in the middle of the season, I wouldn’t be here. It happens to any coach in any team.
You have contracts, but if the club doesn’t like you or you don’t like things, the perceptions of both sides are important to take a decision.
For me is the same to have a contract for five years. At the end of the year we will sit down and if they offer me to stay I will have to see. And if they don’t like what we are doing, they could just tell me and take decisions even with the contract in place”.
ON VAN BRONCKHORTS RUMORS
“I thought that he would come in April when things weren’t good here. It is a possibility, he is a coach with credentials. It is normal. I don’t know why that is coming up now when we are playing Playoffs, but it’s normal. Even though the rumor came out of Manchester. He is and would be a good option for the club”.