This whole off-season, it’s been about NYCFC‘s defense. Their attack is set up with David Villa and their middle needs no attention with Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo. The main discussion has been about the line and so far, they’ve solely spent their money on just that.
The question that should pop in everyone’s mind is are they smart investors or risky spenders?
A squad is nothing without a defense and Sporting Director Claudio Reyna has made it clear that he intends to fix it as that’s what needed major attention. They’ve brought in Ethan White, Ronald Matarrita, Diego Martinez and Frédéric Brillant; will all these players contribute and fix this defensive situation?
If you look at this club’s spending and transaction history, it really hasn’t been pretty. The main reason why NYCFC only had one pick in this year’s MLS Superdraft is because of trading. They gave away three picks for three players that are no longer part of the squad.
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They brought in veteran Andoni Iraola last year, but his age raises many questions and is an injury prone player. They still have Jefferson Mena, but the Columbian native merely played six games last season, not really much of a contribution. In the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft, they brought in New Yorker Chris Wingert, he’s also gone and joined Real Salt Lake for the second time.
Of course, a club is going to have it’s handful of released players, but how many in a span of one year? They obtained White in a exchange for a 2017 draft pick and they spent heavily on Matarrita due to a release clause. Martinez didn’t come cheap either coming from a well-known River Plate team and Brillant is experienced, but in his early 30’s.
NYCFC don’t seem to shut down their spending as according to reports, Bulgarian national defender Ivan Ivanov is currently on trial. The 27-year old was cut by FC Basel over the summer and could possibly look for a move in the MLS.
If there’s one thing you have to credit Reyna, is he has his head in the right place. Reyna and French gaffer Patrick Vieira have their minds set on solving this defensive problem.
Will these signings solidify the defensive line or will they be a bust? I guess we’ll see once the season kicks-off, but in the meantime, expect new faces on this NYCFC squad.