New York City FC: Questions that need answers
New York City FC is on an okay start to the 2023 season. The team is 2-2-1, with both wins coming at home, and both losses occurring on the road. Scoring, with the exception of the D.C. United game, has been hard to come by, and in some fixtures, the team has played poorly,.
Only five matches have been played, so some would argue that it is too early in the season to panic. In some ways, it is agreeable, but that does not mean worry does not seep within the fan base.
As such, it creates questions for the Pigeons. There are so many unknowns, especially regarding the roster. Yes, the midfield is mostly fortified now after bringing back Santiago Rodríguez, James Sands, and then signing Richard Ledezma. Alas, there are still holes to fill.
Therefore, here are some questions for the club, both directly and indirectly.
Is New York City FC actively considering strikers for the summer transfer window?
Most fans and those in the media would agree that New York City FC desperately needs a new striker. Talles Magno might have scored a goal while playing in the center-forward position, but truthfully he was all over the attack during that game. When he is on the wings, he is a much better player, and more productive in the final third.
Since there is no true striker available, NYCFC needs one, so is the club actively looking? More importantly, are they looking for someone that can contribute right away, and score 15 plus goals in a season? This is something the Pigeons are desperate for, especially after watching the horrible match against Houston Dynamo FC.
Moreover, is the team looking for a temporary solution if they are looking, or are they looking to sign someone that will be around for at least a few years? While it is unlikely the front office will reveal what they are doing, it would be nice to know that the team is actively looking.
What is going on with the NYCFC possession game?
So far this season, NYCFC has been struggling with their possession style of play. So far, they have only had the edge on possession in two matches, and they lost both of them. In the other three, the opposing team led with the majority of the possession.
Hence, what is going on with the possession game? Is Nick Cushing changing things further? Did the loss of Maxi Moralez truly impact their possession ability? When they do have the majority of the ball, why are they not playing as well, and end up losing?
This is something that is extremely puzzling, especially since most City Football Group teams stress the importance of possession style football. It is difficult to pinpoint why NYCFC is struggling this season to keep the ball. Their returnees to the midfield should help, but thus no answers have been given on the pitch.
Is Luis Barraza the right choice for New York City FC as the goalkeeper?
New York City FC were unfortunate not to bring their captain, Sean Johnson, back for the 2023 season. Likely money was an issue, but it is not clear to why the team would not bring him back after solid seasons with the club.
As a result, Luis Barraza has been the first choice goalkeeper for the first five fixtures of the season. It is not surprising, for he was the second choice goalkeeper next to Johnson over the last few seasons. But, is Barraza good enough to be the first choice? That question lingered amongst NYCFC supporters during the offseason, and likely still linger in their minds today.
Up to now, Barraza has not been bad, but he has not been great either. Luckily, the team has not faced a big offensive threat as of yet, so he has been able to make a few saves in every game. In front of the net, he has showed he is average, which for five matches in is not bad. There is plenty of season for him to grow.
However, his distribution of the ball has been questionable at best, and some of his passes out of the back have been shaky. It is still too soon to decide whether he is a fit for the Pigeons’ style of play.
At this point in time, Barraza has not done enough to lose the goalkeeper job, but it would not be bad if Matt Freese had a chance to start and fight for the position. If anything, New York City FC would be smart to keep the goalkeeper battle going.