New York City Football Club boast a number of high quality players and a renowned MLS coach.The catch is, of course, that NYCFC have never played a season.
David Villa, Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer, will wear the captain’s armband for NYCFC’s inaugural season. Villa’s goal-scoring abilities at striker will be absolutely key to the squad’s success, and his leadership will hold perhaps even more weight as the captain of a team in its inaugural season.
The Kreis Vets
The NYC squad is filled with MLS veterans whose performance and league experience is an important component of the team’s success. Midfielders Ned Grabavoy and Sebastian Velasquez, defenseman Kwame Watson-Siriboe, and likely starting keeper Josh Saunders all played for Coach Jason Kreis during his tenure at Real Salt Lake. This will be a tremendous boon to their on-field chemistry and ability to respond effectively to Kreis’ coaching.
Though they don’t come from other MLS teams, Mix Diskerud, Adam Nemec, and Javier Calle will be pivotal members of the team. Mix, a free signing from Rosenborg, who has arguably the best hair in the league, is one of the squad’s key playmakers. He has proven his footwork and ball-handling skills, with none other than the US Men’s National Team.
Colombian midfielder Javier Calle, another expected to start at midfield, should round out the Calle-Mix-Villa combination that will be brutal for the opposition. Expect to see playing time as well for Ghanaian Kwadwo Poku, who joined NYCFC from NASL club Atlanta Silverbacks.
The offensively strong NYCFC have two additional possibilities for striker: Adam Nemec and Tony Taylor. Nemec, a signing who plays for the Slovakian national team, is another viable option to play alongside Villa at forward, as is Taylor, who NYCFC picked up via the MLS Expansion Draft from the New England Revolution.
Jeb Brovsky, who has already become one of the club’s biggest personalities between his activism and his famed mustache, was traded to NYCFC from the Montreal Impact in June 2014. He is a leader on and off the pitch, and will help shore up the back line with fellow MLS veteran defenders Wingert and Saunders.
The Young One
Khiry Shelton, the 2nd overall draft pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, has already made waves for NYCFC with his agility, handling, and . He scored the equalizing goal in the Carolina Challenge Cup draw against Orlando City, showing he has what it takes to make an impact at striker from the start.
Coach Jason Kreis is an experienced first skipper for the squad; he coached Real Salt Lake from 2007-2013, including a 2009 MLS Cup victory. This kind of leadership background has already proven essential to the club as this time, Kreis isn’t just rebuilding a team; he’s creating an entirely new one.
The Bottom Line
NYCFC have what it takes for an exciting breakout season. While the MLS Cup is certainly too high a bar to set for a club’s inaugural season, it’s far from unreasonable to count on NYC making the playoffs.
New York City Football Club open their inaugural season in Major League Soccer against Orlando City on Sunday, March 8th at 5pm EST on ESPN2.
(image courtesy of espnfc.com)