Dome Torrent was never completely comfortable as the manager of New York City FC, and he never hid his disdain for Major League Soccer.
Based on recent interviews, Torrent may want to leave NYCFC with one year remaining on his contract, despite guiding the club to its best season in franchise history and professing his love for the players.
Torrent’s top assistant at New York City, Albert Puig, has already decided to pursue other opportunities, a source told Pro Soccer USA.
“This was a tough, tough season for us, for everybody,” Torrent said after Toronto FC ended City’s season in the Eastern Conference semifinals. “Many things happened, but the people don’t know that.”
Torrent further explained his discontent during an appearance on the Spanish podcast Se Llama Soccer. He indicated frustration when the club failed to sign a striker – its greatest need after the departure of David Villa.
“We started the season without a proper No. 9, and you have to know that Heber was our ninth option,” Torrent said on the podcast prior to NYCFC’s Oct. 17 friendly against the Chicago Fire. “This means that the club couldn’t sign the first option or the second, for many reasons — sometimes financial, sometimes because the player at the last part of the process decided to stay where he was. But the fact is that Heber was the 9th option, and then when I said, ‘I want this player,’ we took 50 days to sign him.”
On Feb. 14, Torrent said the team could acquire a striker “in three to four days.” Heber signed on March 21, debuted at Minnesota on April 6 and scored the first of a team-high 15 goals on April 21 at D.C. United.
“I have no doubt that having a player like Heber from the beginning we would be talking about the chance of winning the Supporters Shield. I’m convinced of that,” Torrent told Se Llama Soccer.
Los Angeles FC captured the Supporters Shield with an MLS record 72 points – eight points ahead of NYCFC.
“People think that New York City FC has this big impact because of the name of the city,” Torrent continued on the podcast. “But looking at the league, it is comparable to Espanyol in Barcelona. Of the 20 teams in La Liga, Espanyol is 10th in players’ budget and in NYCFC we are the 12th of 24 teams. 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.”
Beyond budget concerns, Torrent was personally affected by the organization’s response when NYCFC failed to secure a victory in their opening six matches of the season.
City Football Group executive Brian Marwood arrived from Manchester, England to observe the environment at NYCFC’s training sessions and games.
Marwood is Manchester City’s football administration officer and oversees the six satellite clubs under the City Football Group umbrella, including New York City FC. His first stop to assess Torrent was a road match against Minnesota April 13 that ended in a 3-3 draw, extending NYC’s winless streak to six.
But then City defeated Wayne Rooney and DCU 2-0 at Audi Field April 21 – the first win of the season and the start of a 12-match unbeaten streak.
In the meantime, CFG had hired former Feyenoord manager and Dutch international Giovanni Van Bronckhorst in an unspecified consulting role. Much later, on Oct. 10, Goal.com reported the organization considered Van Bronckhorst, who won five trophies in four seasons at Feyenoord, a future mentor at NYCFC.
Torrent was not stunned by the news, but thought the timing odd.
“I thought that he would come in April when things weren’t good here,” Torrent told Se Llama Soccer. “I understand that if we didn’t win that game against D.C. United, I wouldn’t be here.
“It is a possibility. He is a coach with credentials. I don’t know why that is coming up now when we are in the playoffs, but it’s normal, even though it came out of Manchester. He is and would be a good option for the club.”
Further speculation Torrent may have already decided to depart the Bronx came after a brief conversation with Joe Tolleson, the play-by-play voice for NYCFC on the YES Network.
When Tolleson offered his praise on a successful season after the Toronto defeat, Torrent said, “That’s soccer. Good luck next year,” before turning away to an exit into the Citi Field corridors.
— Joe Tolleson (@joetolleson) October 24, 2019
During a nine-game unbeaten streak in the final months of the season, Torrent told PSUSA he was more comfortable with the players and they with him. He spoke about expectations and how players such as James Sands, Justin Haak and Joe Scally are the future of the club, along with “a few academy players that could be ready to sign.”
Nonetheless, when asked by a reporter after the playoff loss whether he had a desire to fulfill the remainder of his contract with New York City FC, Torrent was far from mawkish in his response.
“It’s not important. They are ready for another coach,” he said. “Don’t worry. If Patrick [Vieira] is not here, it’s Dome. If Dome is not here, it’s another coach.”