The 2023 season did not go well for New York City FC. The team ended the season with a win but failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015. It was not like the team was awful. Rather, there were many games where the Pigeons played well; the results did not go their way.
There is also plenty of talent on the squad. Newcomer Julián Fernández has the potential to be the best winger in Major League Soccer. Then, there are young veterans like James Sands and Santiago Rodríguez who are impact players.
At the same time, some players should not be here in 2024. Some have not made an impact on NYCFC in the way they should have. Others were not good enough to crack the Starting XI or act as solid depth players. Needless to say, the club will likely say goodbye to numerous players over the next few months.
Here are three players NYCFC should not bring back in 2024.
Three players NYCFC should not bring back
Alfredo Morales joined NYCFC back in 2021. He has had some fantastic moments. When Keaton Parks was injured in 2021, the defensive midfielder stepped in and became a part of the MLS Cup Championship side. Since then, he rotated as a depth piece and starter.
This season, he has only started 11 MLS games. Notably, he has spent time injured. Still, Morales' career with NYCFC can best be described as average. He was not terrible, but he was not great either. Since he has an option for 2024, the Pigeons should decline it and try to sign a younger midfielder. Ideally, they should bring Andrés Perea back, for he and Sands work well together in the midfield.
If NYCFC decides to keep Morales for the next season, then likely the reasons will be his veteran presence and depth. It would be a smart move to move on from the 33-year-old.
Toward the end of the season, Luis Barraza lost his NYCFC starting goalkeeper role to Matt Freese. At this time, it looks like Freese is the established number one.
Since Barraza also has an option for 2024, the Pigeons should decline that option. Truthfully, his performances were not up to par with what the team needed between the sticks. Freese had the edge over him, and it was seen leading up to the end of the season.
Instead, NYCFC should sign someone young who can take the time to learn what it takes to be successful in the league. Perhaps there is someone in the academy who would be the perfect fit.
If NYCFC fans had a say and could choose any player to not return, then it would be Matías Pellegrini. The forward has been lackluster and dull for most of his tenure with the Pigeons. He rarely made an impact when Nick Cushing named him to the Starting XI. It was frustrating when he continued to earn minutes.
The biggest issue was that Pellegrini was making a lot of money for being a poor player. The Argentine had a guaranteed compensation of $1,120,833.00 in 2023. That money could be used to enhance the contracts of the talented players already here. Moreover, it could be used to sign players to enhance the roster. NYCFC would be insane to offer him a new contract.
Then again, they were insane to claim him via waivers for 2023. Will New York City FC make the right choice?