When NYCFC brought in Maxime Chanot, it was a move designed to fix the major issue for this team: The back line. Despite being at the top of the table with 40 goals scored, NYCFC's goal differential is exactly zero.
Some blame Josh Saunders, and there is some blame to go there. Saunders can be brilliant, as noted by three straight clean sheets earlier in the season. But he's also prone to a bad goal here and there. But with all the offensive firepower, the real concern is the performance of the back line.
Chanot hasn't been here long enough to have a major impact just yet, and the other defenders have struggled all year.
Is it how Patrick Vieira coaches the team? Is it the personnel? The answer to both is likely yes. There is no one singular root cause of the porous defense, but if NYCFC is to be a true contender for an MLS Cup, they need to play a more rounded game.
NYCFC is right there. Right on the cusp of being a legitimate MLS Cup contender. But the defenders need to figure out a way to stop hemorrhaging goals, especially in the second half. It's become an epidemic.