New York City FC manager Dome Torrent is stepping down, according to ESPN. Torrent has one year remaining on his contract but will reportedly alert City Football Group of his intent to leave NYCFC “within the coming days.”
Torrent led the fourth-year Major League Soccer team to its best season in 2019. NYCFC won the regular-season Eastern Conference title with 64 points and qualified for the 2020 Concacaf Champions League. However, the campaign ended with a disappointing defeat at the hands of Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
With Yankee Stadium, NYCFC’s regular home venue, unavailable due to the New York Yankees’ run in Major League Baseball’s American League Championship Series, the Toronto loss was played at the New York Mets’ Citi Field.
After his team crashed out of the MLS Cup playoffs in its first postseason game, Torrent hinted he could be headed for the exit.
“I don’t know what will happen,” Torrent said in his postmatch press conference. “Right now we have time, it’s October, we have time to talk about the next year. But don’t worry because if Dome’s not here … the most important thing is the club. They have a good, good team, amazing players and no doubt about if Dome is the head coach or another coach, he can play really well with these kind of players.”
During an Oct. 17 appearance on the Spanish podcast Se Llama Soccer, Torrent expressed frustration over the difficulty of filling a roster need at the start of 2019.
“We started the season without a proper No. 9, and you have to know that Héber was our ninth option,” he said prior to a playoff tune-up 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 ninth option, and then when I said, ‘I want this player,’ we took 50 days to sign him.”
Torrent took over NYCFC in the middle of the 2018 season after former manager Patrick Vieira departed for Nice in France’s Ligue 1. The Pigeons struggled down the stretch under their new boss, finishing third in the East and falling 4-1 on aggregate to Atlanta United in the two-legged conference semifinals. In 2019, NYCFC’s regular season was bested only by record-setting Los Angeles FC.
The Catalan is drawing interest from “a number of other MLS clubs” as well as teams in the Middle East, according to ESPN. The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal said he would be “surprised” if Torrent chooses to remain Stateside.
“Several people have told me that he was completely frustrated by the league,” Stejskal tweeted. “Travel, roster mechanisms, salary cap, etc. If he has options elsewhere, I bet he bounces.”
Rumors of former Netherlands men’s national team star Giovanni van Bronckhorst potentially taking over for Torrent” have legs to them,” per Stejskal. Van Bronckhorst, 44, managed Dutch Eredivisie side Feynoord from 2015 through the end of the 2018-19 season and won the league title in 2017.
Van Bronckhorst has spent time working with CFG’s academy since leaving Feynoord in May, though the Manchester Evening News reported he “is simply gathering experience of how the club, and the City Football Group, runs its business.”
Last month, van Bronckhorst told Dutch outlet Voetbal International he hopes to return to the sideline.
“I have been to Manchester a number of times and travel a lot,” he said. “I see new things, experience new things and continue to develop. For me, that is very beautiful at the moment. Ultimately, I want to be a head coach again. That is the best thing for me. This is a great interim solution.”