New York City Football Club ended last season on two totally different notes in the last two games they played. The NYCFC preseason is looking better.
The first was against Orlando City Soccer Club at Exploria Stadium, where NYCFC played in the Major League Soccer playoffs. The game was tight and nail-biting. It went to penalties and in the end NYCFC lost, but it was also one of the most bizarre showcases of refereeing in MLS history.
Changing out long-time cogs in NYCFC’s machine
Since then, head coach Ronny Deila has changed up a lot of moving parts in the team. There was a total of 10 departures from the club. Three big ones were Joe Scally, Ronald Matarrita, and Alexander Ring. The latter two were big parts of the first team.
Matarrita had been a part of NYCFC for nearly five years. He went off to FC Cincinatti in the United Soccer League. Ring was another long-time player, having joined NYCFC in February of 2017. The midfielder made 128 appearances before departing to league-rivals Austin Football Club. Scally played just 7 times for NYCFC, unable to really show off his talent here in the MLS. He went off to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
Additions to the team are majority free transfers and loans. Arrivals include Justin Haak, Mason Stajduhar, Evan Newton, Andres Jasson, Chris Gloster, and Malte Amundsen. The most substantial of these is Amundsen, who comes in fill the hole Matarrita left.
The effects they’ve had on the NYCFC preseason
The additions already seem to have taken a hold into the team. Thing started rough in the early NYCFC preseason, when Chicago Fire FC beat the blues 2-1 in a friendly. A couple of days later, NYCFC took on Orlando City, the team who knocked them out of the playoffs last season. New York ended up winning 3-2 against the Lions. NYCFC then went to take on the defending champions, Columbus Crew. They won 3-0 against the crew.
Though these preseason games are more for testing out formations and players abilities, it’s still good to see New York bringing home wins. These games are more important because of who they were against in Orlando and Columbus. Any amount of information that can be gained from these friendlies will be crucial for Deila come league time.
Players of interest and the preseason ahead
Players to watch include Amundsen, Sean Johnson and Gloster. Amundsen will have a big role to help fill in the back wings to keep the counterattack up and steady. Johnson has always been solid for New York and it’ll be a big bill to fit to do better than last season, as NYCFC went pretty far. Gloster is coming in from Europe, so he’ll have to adjust to the North American style of soccer fast before he’s caught out on the pitch.
Maximiliano Moralez will be another big player to watch as the number 10 of the team. He played an integral part in NYCFC’s 3-0 win against Columbus Crew in their recent friendly, even netting himself a goal.
Deila is building a team he believes will perform best for New York. His record last season shows he can do a lot with what he’s given, so to see what will be possible with who he’s signed on now will be exciting to see once the season starts.