Today’s arrival of MLS Season Pass on AppleTV+ has something of a Christmas morning feel. Opening up the shiny new streaming interface for the first time brought on strong unboxing vibes, and revealed a plethora of interesting options for subscribers looking to watch some fresh MLS video content.
The centerpiece of the league’s new broadcast setup with Apple will no doubt be the full season’s worth of live matches still to come, but we remain weeks away from the February 25th regular season kickoff. For fans of MLS starved for any new content, MLS Season Pass is the gift that will tide us over until the season starts.
After poking around the new streaming home for all things MLS, I thought it would be valuable to call out the stuff up on AppleTV+ right now that would appeal to fans of New York City FC looking to scratch their itch as they wait for the new campaign to begin.
If you’re looking for a more nuts-and-bolts explainer on how MLS-on-AppleTV works, I would recommend checking out this helpful guide from Alicia Rodriguez over at LAFC blog Angels on Parade, or scrolling through this tweet thread from SBNation soccer blog-master Jeremiah Oshan. Also, if you want a clearer picture of the kinds of NYCFC-related videos you can expect to see now and throughout the season, this thread from The Athletic’s Pablo Iglesias Maurer provides a great summary of what each MLS club is expected to be producing for Apple. So far, as pointed out by Paul Harvey on Twitter, it appears that NYCFC has not produced any “Player Profiles,” or two-minute-long videos meant to help fans get to know the members of the first team. Perhaps that might have something to do with NYCFC not even knowing which players to highlight as the roster undergoes a drastic overhaul?
With all that said, here’s a roundup of what I think will be the videos of the most interest to NYCFC supporters as they look to spend some time exploring the new streaming home for all things Boys in Blue. It’s a mix of full match replays, interviews, highlights, and more. Hopefully this will help you make the most of your early days navigating this not-cheap new subscription.
1. Club History in Eight Minutes
If you’re new to the NYCFC family, or just want to take a brief, synopsized stroll back through the club’s history, a good place to start is the “Club Profile” that’s prominently displayed when visiting NYCFC’s “club room.” This eight-minute video does a decent job summing up all that’s gone down since NYCFC was founded back in May 2013, though the video is glaring for one very obvious choice made by the team, or the league, or both—the name “David Villa” is completely absent from the voiceover narration that covers NYCFC’s earliest years. As you likely know, the team’s first-ever signing and record-setting goal scorer has been almost entirely memory-holed since a former NYCFC intern came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct by Villa during his time with NYCFC. He’s the elephant in the room, appearing in a decent amount of the footage covering the early NYCFC seasons, yet like a footballing Voldemort, never gets mentioned by name.
2. The Full 2021 MLS Cup Replay
What better way to feel better about life behind the Apple paywall than to relive NYCFC’s greatest on-field achievement to date? Every exhilarating, agonizing, euphoric second of that fateful December day in Portland is right there for you to experience for perhaps the hundredth time. It might make you particularly wistful for days gone by considering just three players from that cup-winning starting 11 remain with the club.
3. Talles Magno Previews the 2023 Season
From the recent preseason MLS Media Day (which brought us the closest thing to a leak of the new NYCFC home kit) comes this sit-down interview of Talles Magno by MLSsoccer.com’s Edgar Acero. It’s interesting to hear Magno, still just 20 years old, talk about needing to take on more of a leadership role in the wake of all the player departures that have reshuffled the NYCFC roster. Interview also includes a sobering reminder that’s all too familiar to NYCFC fans, as Talles Magno reiterates that it’s his dream to play in Europe. If the NYCFC media team thought it was done creating “Thank You, [Departing Player]” content, they might have to fire it all back up again this summer if a lucrative European offer comes in for “Talles Magico.”
4. A “Classic” Hudson River Derby Win
There are a variety of old matches spanning the full 26-plus year history of the league available to watch in full with MLS Season Pass. The must-watch archival match for NYCFC fans has to be this Hudson River Derby win at Yankee Stadium from August 2019. This was the game decided by Heber’s audacious backheel goal that nutmegged New Jersey Red Bull keeper and persistent NYCFC menace Luis Robles. The 2019 season was a particularly memorable one for the club, and this was one of its highest highs, so it makes for a fun re-watch.
For the sake of equal time, there is another “classic” Hudson River Derby available with MLS Season Pass that makes for the polar opposite of a “fun” re-watch for NYCFC fans…but we don’t have to talk about that right now.
5. One Final Playoff Masterclass
A huge number of the core NYCFC players fans have known and loved are now gone, which is a painful reality that likely won’t be eased until the new-look 2023 team starts playing real matches and we have some new players to who will capture your imahginations. For my money, the last utterly dominant performance from The Old Guard came against Inter Miami at Citi Field in the Knockout Round of the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs. Much of the talk before, during, and after the match was focused on Gonzalo Higuain — but the Argentine’s final career match should really be remembered as the last hurrah in New York City proper for club legends Maxi Moralez, Alexander Callens, Sean Johnson, and Anton Tinnerholm.
The eventual 3-0 win featured a dominant performance from NYCFC. Gabriel Pereira opened the scoring in what eventually turned into a blowout second-half, and it featured what I consider the best goal NYCFC scored that season when Moralez finished off a team move to make it 2-0 in the 69th minute. The whole match is entertaining, made more so by the lively Queens crowd that turned out for a match that was mercifully moved to Citi Field from Red Bull Arena.
6. The Man, The Myth, The Pigeon
This profile of Omari, the man affectionately known as the NYCFC Pigeon, might change the minds of those who dislike the use of the Pigeons nickname for NYCFC. He very eloquently sums up the pro-Pigeon side of the nickname argument, and in general does a great job talking about how soccer and the New York City community can work hand-in-hand. This video was part of the “Ritual” series in which all MLS clubs are expected to participate, and which are meant to be fan-focused video spotlights that shed light on supporter and club culture throughout the league. AppleTV appears to be promoting a reworked version of this 2019 video the club itself previously made with Omari—so not exactly a new piece made for the MLS Season Pass launch, but, still something worth checking out.
Any other notable matches or videos on AppleTV that you think are worth highlighting? Drop them in the comments so we can all waste some more of our time streaming that hot NYCFC content.