Nick Cushing should give Matt Freese more starts

-Luis Barraza has mostly started as the NYCFC goalkeeper

-Matt Freese should be given more opportunities to see how he does

Matt Freese of NYCFC
Matt Freese of NYCFC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout most of the season, Luis Barraza has been the starting goalkeeper for New York City FC. Since the team has struggled immensely this year, it has been difficult to determine whether he is the right man for the job. Some might argue he is not, while others believe he needs the time with a proper roster in front of him.

Of course, there is also the argument that if NYCFC scored more goals, then there would be no question about Barraza. In other words, he would have more wins under his belt because his teammates would have scored enough to grab all three points.

However, Matt Freese has also been available. He has rarely started this year in what was thought to be a goalkeeper battle throughout the season. In total, he has started five games throughout all competitions, including the last two Leagues Cup games.

With ten fixtures remaining in the regular season, Nick Cushing should allow Freese to start in some of these matches. Arguably, supporters do not know who is the best player to start. In the games Freese has seen playing time, he has done decently well. Yet, it would not hurt to see him earn more minutes and battle it out with Barraza.

Matt Freese deserves the opportunity to start in more matches

In the Major League Soccer regular season, Freese has made only two starts for NYCFC. In the 180 minutes he has played, he has eight saves with 66.7% of the shots on target saved. On the other hand, Barraza has 22 starts. In the 1,980 regular season minutes, he has made 57 saves with a save percentage of 68.7%.

The sample size is small, but percentage-wise, the two NYCFC players are very close. Thus far in the regular season, Barraza has 2.6 saves a game, and Freese, in his two starts, has four saves a game. However, when one looks at the backup goalkeeper's five games, he has 15 saves with a save percentage of 71.4%. On average, he makes three saves a game.

Again, the sample size is small, but Freese has done well in the fixtures he has played in, excluding the FC Cincinnati game from May, where he allowed three goals. Still, Cushing should give him a shot, for who knows whether he should be the starting goalkeeper. Based on his minutes in 2023, there is something there that should be explored.

At this rate, it does not hurt to give Freese more of an opportunity. The Pigeons are in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, and it will take a miracle to make the playoffs. Also, that does not mean Barraza should not start either. Let them both battle it out for the rest of the year to see who will be the starter for 2024. Notably, if there is a better goalkeeper out there that the team wants to sign in the winter, then this would be a battle for the backup role. Although, it feels like that is an unlikely scenario.

So, Cushing should give Freese some starts as the season winds down. Let fans see for themselves that either Barraza deserves the starting role, or that he should be replaced by Freese. New York City FC can afford to do this due to mostly equal performances by both players.