On Saturday night, New York City FC were unfortunately defeated in their opening match against Nashville SC. While the result was not surprising, it was clear the Pigeons played a game of two halves. The first half saw an extremely poor performance, while the second half showed the play was much stronger, but lacked in the scoring department.
Despite the loss, the fixture gave supporters a chance to look at the new signing, Braian Cufré. The Argentine is on loan from RCD Mallorca, and NYCFC has an option to buy at the end of the season.
Braian Cufré performed well in his first New York City FC game
Right away, it was clear he was brought over for his defensive and offensive abilities, which fits what the club wants from a full-back. Against Nashville, he defended well on the left side. While his passing percentage could have been higher, he still had one successful tackle and managed decently well against attackers.
Cufré also had four successful clearances, and his most notable one occurred in the beginning of the second half. Maxime Chanot was unable to run with a Nashville attacker, and this allowed the opposing player to get closer to goal. Fortunately, Cufré recognized this immediately, stepped in, and cleared the danger away. This illuminates he has a solid footballing IQ, and can recognize when he is needed.
Offensively, he likes to get into the attack. Unlike Malte Amundsen, he has no problem with moving up the pitch. He got himself into the attacking third numerous times against Nashville, and constantly looked to see whether he could find a teammate. The left-back sent quite a few crosses into the box as well. In fact, about half of his successful passes came in the attacking half, and were sent towards offensive players.
Moreover, he had a shot on target too in the first half. Cufré saw an opportunity, so he took his shot. It was an easy save in the end, but again, this shows the new signing has no problem with getting into the attack, but also being a part of the attack.
This was only one match, but the left-back has shown he has the potential to be a big problem in Major League Soccer. He fits the NYCFC style of play, and in all honesty, is finally a true replacement for Gudmundur Thórarinsson.
It will be exciting to see what Cufré does this year, and hopefully his impact on New York City FC will be a big one.