New York City FC

New York City FC didn't exactly enjoy any kind of smooth sailing in their debut season as an MLS team, with some spells of wonderful, exciting play mixed in with long periods where they struggled for injury, consistency, or sometimes just suffering from the woes of being a brand-new team filled with players who never played with each other before.

That takes a toll, but now that NYCFC are hitting year two there's reason to think and hope things will be much better. Manager Patrick Vieira is new at senior-level club management, but he has a solidly built squad with good leadership and plenty of younger players with exciting potential. They could easily bust again, but NYCFC should be a much more watchable and entertaining team than they were a year ago. In fact, you shouldn't be surprised if, come the fall, you see them in the MLS playoffs.

2015 record: 10-7-17, 8th place in Eastern Conference

2015 Playoffs: Did not qualify

Key additions: Frederic Brillant, Ronald Matarrita

​​Key losses: Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy, Angelino

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Josh Saunders; Ronald Matarrita, Frederic Brillant, Jason Hernandez, RJ Allen; Kwadwo Poku, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard; David Villa, Patrick Mullins, Khiry Shelton

Q&A with Rafael Noboa y Rivera, Hudson River Blue

Why should a new fan support this team?

NYCFC may be owned by Manchester City, but they provide Americans fans something of a rarity: a chance to create a unique fan culture right from the beginning in one of the few American cities where you can be from that city the minute you set foot in it. On top of that, given City Football Group's relentless drive to succeed, you can be sure that however rocky New York City's inaugural season was, however tough New York City's sophomore season could be, this is a club that will succeed, sooner rather than later.

Why this year won't be like last year

New manager Patrick Vieira and technical director Claudio Reyna have overhauled the Blues roster, which was one of the oldest in the league last year and populated by forgettable names like Adam Nemec, Andres Mendoza and Javier Calle. In signing a number of young players like Diego Martinez and Federico Bravo, this potentially injects a badly-needed dose of speed and energy into the team. The hope is that players like these will help complement players like Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard, who were less than able to cope with the league's speed and physicality. Beyond that, the ideal would be for the newcomers to stick with the team for the long term, erasing the perceived stigma of being a little sibling to Manchester City.

Bottom line: with a new manager and an overhauled roster, there's every chance that this season will be the kind of season that last year's should've been.

What we're scared of derailing our season

Injuries. New York City's roster was devastated by them all through the season. It's unclear whether New York City's athletic trainers spent the preseason crossing black cats or not, but the team's luck was dire. At one point, nearly a third of the roster was on the disabled list. If New York City can escape that bug, the talent on the roster should be enough to make for an improved record this season.

Game we're most looking forward to in 2016

May 21, at home against the New York Red Bulls. This is the first game of this year's three-game Hudson River Derby. Not only did New York City lose all three games last year, they did so in spiritless fashion, the team looking discombobulated throughout. Blues' fans would like nothing more than to erase the sour taste from last year's sweep with a win at home in Yankee Stadium.