NYCFC news roundup: Alfredo Morales, national team call-ups, and the preseason

-Here is the latest news roundup for NYCFC
Alfredo Morales, formerly of NYCFC
Alfredo Morales, formerly of NYCFC / Stephen Nadler/ISI Photos/GettyImages

New York City FC has had plenty of newsworthy stories over the last few days. Here is the latest edition of the news roundup.

NYCFC news roundup: Trades, international call-ups, and more

Alfredo Morales' rights are traded

There was some confusion on Thursday when NYCFC announced that Alfredo Morales was traded to the San Jose Earthquakes for a 2026 third-round draft pick. It is understandable since the wording in the announcement made it seem like the team traded the player away. As a result, fans were confused as to why they barely got a return.

Thankfully, San Jose was clearer when they announced the trade. The California side traded for the right of first refusal. In other words, they traded for Morales' rights because Major League Soccer rules are silly. Nonetheless, this move allowed the Earthquakes to acquire the midfielder and sign him to a contract.

NYCFC supporters should remember that the Pigeons already declined Morales' option for the end of the 2023 season. Hence, he was not a member of the team. This meant the return options were limited. The club could have accepted his option and still traded him. Alas, the midfielder was probably unsure about his future at the time.

National team call-ups for NYCFC

NYCFC players James Sands and Mitja Ilenič were called up to their respective national teams for January. The month is not an official FIFA window, but some teams will schedule friendlies like the USMNT does every year. They will play Slovenia on January 20, which means Sands and Ilenič will face off against one another.

Plus, it is the first senior call-up for Ilenič. He gets a chance to prove to not only Slovenia, but NYCFC as well, that he should start. This is a vital camp for the young defender.

With James, it is not shocking he was called up in January since the camp is mostly MLS players. With that said, he also gets another opportunity to show his abilities in the hope he will be called up when the USMNT has their starting European-based players.

The NYCFC preseason

On Friday, NYCFC confirmed the rest of their preseason schedule. Supporters already knew the matches that would take place at the 2024 Coachella Valley Invitational.

The other two games, which will be behind closed doors, will be against the Philadelphia Union and Austin FC. The Union match will occur on Saturday, January 27. The Pigeons will end the preseason with a friendly against Austin on Saturday, February 17.

New York City FC will have a lot of work to do during their preseason. It would be nice for the club to make a signing or two before that first fixture at the end of January.