On Monday, New York City FC announced their roster decisions for the 2024 season. Fans have been waiting for these moves, and the choices by the club were understandable.
The Pigeons have to look toward the future. Their lack of depth was problematic in 2023. Some positions had little to no competition. The team started to bring in new players over the summer, but more signings are needed.
Before NYCFC can bring in transfers or free agents, they had to make the decisions on who would stay and who would go. The yearly options that are a part of many Major League Soccer players' contracts give teams the flexibility to adjust their team every year.
NYCFC announced their end-of-the-year roster moves
For NYCFC, the team announced five players who had their options exercised. Luis Barraza, Matt Freese, Andres Jasson, Kevin O’Toole, and Gabriel Segal are all set to return for the 2024 season. Notably, Segal has been out on loan in Israel. The Pigeons have not announced whether he has returned and is safe.
Then, there were the players who had their options declined. Nico Benalcazar, Braian Cufré, Jonathan Jiménez, Alfredo Morales, Samuel Owusu, Matías Pellegrini, and Stephen Turnbull are the seven NYCFC decided to bid farewell to. Cufré was here on loan, so the option to buy was not exercised.
Of course, it must be said that options do not mean players will be here or will be gone. For those who had their options exercised, they can still be traded, sold, or sent out on loan. For those who had their options declined, they could be brought back on a new deal. It is more likely the supporters have seen the last of the seven that NYCFC chose not to bring back.
Alfredo Morales is the biggest departing player. He was a part of the MLS Cup Championship in 2021. His veteran presence and knowledge have been helpful to the younger players. Yet, his time with the Pigeons can be best described as average. NYCFC needs a defensive midfielder that can compete with the others on the team. Toward the end of the season, it was clear Morales was not that player anymore.
There is no doubt New York City FC will make more moves as the offseason progresses. Fans should expect a few more players to leave before the first game in 2024. On the bright side, that means new faces will join the team. Hopefully, some of the new signings will be difference-makers.