NYCFC are notorious for being on the wrong end of dominating results in knockout tournaments, but have been relatively high up in the standings since 2016. The US Open Cup is a tournament that NYCFC fans have never taken seriously because of how the team has performed over the last four season. Enter in the Round of 32, exit in the Round of 32 each season since 2015.
With Atlanta and the Red Bulls hands down the best in the East, it's really the battle for the best of the rest which I personally see as NYCFC versus Columbus Crew. So my expectation for a potential Supporters Shield push is low. Playoffs? Well when you have to compete with Atlanta and the Red Bulls and Columbus, a team capable of upsets, I just don't see NYCFC pushing past the Eastern Conference Semifinals for yet another season.
The US Open Cup is where it's at. NYCFC will be more than likely be drawn against the Red Bulls again, as the draw is based upon regional rivals. The Red Bulls have knocked NYCFC out of the competition the last two seasons and have notoriously been able to counter NYCFCs style, but the only way NYCFC can win is by parking the bus, avoid the high press and force a team not known for possession and who play with a high line and force them to keep possession and hit them on the break. NYCFC have fourteen Americans, while Matarrita, Chanot, and Ring to name a few have their green cards, qualifying them as domestic players. NYCFC can play almost a full strength XI with the better foreign players on the bench against honestly, the Red Bulls USL team. If NYCFC somehow advance, our "regional rivals" are DC, Philadelphia, and the Revolution, meaning, NYCFC could play at least one of those teams. All three are beatable, but the Revs have been able to get more good results against NYCFC than the others, while NYCFC have only one away win against DC all time. Assuming the Hudson River Derby occurs in the 4th Round, and NYCFC can knock the Red Bulls, there's no reason why they can't reach potentially the Quarterfinal.
With the amount of domestic players on the roster now and the Americans coming in this offseason, I'd assume NYCFC will seek to put up more of a fight in the US Open Cup. With no real proof that NYCFC will push into the 60 point range, or even get to 55 or so points, with little hope of pushing past the Eastern Conference Semifinals, NYCFC need to put a priority on the US Open Cup. If/when NYCFC get knocked out of the Cup, our season is over.