New York City FC: Three predictions for the 2023 season

Sep 14, 2022; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC players celebrate with the trophy after defeating
Sep 14, 2022; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC players celebrate with the trophy after defeating / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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2. New York City FC will sign a striker

With the departure of Héber, there is no doubt New York City FC is thin at the striker/ center-forward position.  Right now, Talles Magno is the expected starter, and the only possible backup would be Gabriel Segal.  However, based on his signing announcement, it looks like Segal was signed with the intention of giving him plenty of playing time with NYCFC II.

As a result, no one truly knows who would be the second choice up top and center.  Cushing has not confirmed anything as of yet, and there is no news about bringing up a striker or a versatile forward from the MLS Next Pro side.  There is also no plan in place in the case Magno is injured. 

Moreover, the Brazilian, at least in 2022, was more productive on the wings than in the center-forward position.  The majority of his goals and assists in all competitions, 75% and 72% respectively, occurred when he played in the left-wing position.  So, it is unknown whether he is the right player to play as a center-forward. 

Notably, Valentín Castellanos took some time to adjust when he moved from the wings to up front and center.  Magno might need extra time, and could turn into another Castellanos. 

Nevertheless, the second prediction is that NYCFC will sign a striker, likely in the summer. 

Again, the team is thin in that position, and there is the injury concern for Magno.  What happens if Segal or any other center-forward from NYCFC II is not ready, and Magno is unable to play?  What happens if Magno cannot play as a center-forward?  Currently, the lack of at least a solid second choice player is a risky move by the front office and Cushing.  It is also risky to bank everything on the young Brazilian.

Even if everything does work out though, and the forward plays well, he will make the jump to Europe.  Consequently, NYCFC will need a center-forward or striker to replace him, or compete with him in the meantime.

In other words, it does not matter where Magno has success; a striker should and must be signed, and one that is playing well.  It would not be smart to bring someone on who is struggling for playing time. 

At this point, the team will wait until the summer window, for there will be additional options available.  Ideally, New York City FC would find a striker that will be with the team for at least a few years, and score 15 or more goals in a season.