Published Jun 22, 2022
Written By:  Charlie Corr
             East Region Contributor


Across 16 seasons competing in the WPSL, the New York Athletic Club’s one-win 2021 campaign was a bit of an anomaly. NYAC’s 2022, however, is restoring the elite reputation that the renowned club has showcased for years.

Entering the fourth week of Metro Conference play, NYAC is in the middle of the pack with a 2-2-1 record (7 points), and it was the team’s 4-4 comeback draw against Downtown United SC this past week that could serve as its defining moment this season.

Where many teams might have been overwhelmed by a three-goal halftime deficit to last year’s Metro-North champion DUSC, visiting-side NYAC showcased the poise to fight all the way back for a clutch road stalemate on June 18.


“The conversation we had with the girls at halftime was we have nothing to lose here,”Juan Gatti, NYAC head coach, said. “We had 45 minutes to do something special. We gave the girls a task: Go and take it from them. They think the game’s over, but it’s not. It’s just getting started.”


NYAC netted two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half and then capped off the day with a Jenna Menta penalty kick conversion right before the final whistle to overcome a whopping 4-1 halftime deficit and earn a road point.


“They didn’t stop until literally the last second,” Gatti said. “It’s bittersweet. It was a great moment, but we also had a taste in our mouth that we could have done more. It’s a game we could have won and maybe should have won. We wanted more.”


RELATED: Comeback Thrillers Dominate Metro’s Third Week of Action


For the better part of the past six years, Asphalt Green has provided the training and facilities to run NYAC’s WPSL club. This is Gatti’s first season as head coach, but he assisted in the past under Bill Saporito.


“It’s been very exciting. The way I see it, I’m the one that is honored and privileged to be able to work with these high-level athletes,” Gatti said. “It’s an opportunity to help them get better during their offseason. It’s a great honor.”


Gatti’s outlook heading into NYAC’s 2022 WPSL season was regiment-focused.


“The way I approach all my teams is applying discipline and culture, and if we can get those two things right, then we can allow the players to express themselves, be themselves, and be successful,” Gatti said. “That’s the balance you find within the season.”


This year, NYAC touts one of the best offenses in the Metro, averaging 5.2 goals per match, and the team still touts an unbeaten road record (1-0-1).

In addition to Asphalt Green, Gatti has served as an assistant coach for the Mercy College men’s soccer team since the 2016 season. The connection with Mercy is paying dividends as several players from the women’s soccer team have represented NYAC this season, providing some versatility on the pitch.


“They’ve been willing to adjust as a team and adjust in positions,” Gatti said. “In the first game we had Madison (Rosa) at right back, and she can play left wing and left back. I played Sydney Cooper at center mid, and she’s been getting really good with the positioning and has been really receptive to it. It’s been nice having the opportunity to work with them and see them get better and execute at whatever role they face.”


The Metro crown might be out of NYAC’s reach after some tough one-goal losses to STA and Brooklyn City FC – two matches that easily could have yielded different results. Nevertheless, NYAC is still in the race, and continuing to battle. If the club’s most recent comeback is any indication, NYAC should not be counted out until that last whistle.


“It’s going to be difficult for us to finish first, but we still believe, and we still are going to go for it,” Gatti said. “Even after our results [against STA and Brooklyn City FC], the girls were ready to go back to work, and I appreciate their mentality of bouncing back. It’s been pretty amazing to have this group.”


Up Next:

NYAC prepares for its home finale against New Jersey Alliance FC on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET). Then, NYAC is on the road for its two final Metro matches, at NJAFC (June 29) and at SUSA FC (July 2).