A look at NYCFC’s depth chart

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

FORWARDS

Left Wing: Ronald Matarrita, Khiry Shelton, Thomas McNamara, Jack Harrison (I)

Matarrita has experience playing as a left winger for Alajuelense, most notably during their CONCACAF Champions League win against D.C. United last season. He was defending as a left winger when he combined with David Villa to create the turnover that led to the lone goal against the Energy. Shelton’s late winner against Køge helps his case for more playing time and he should have more chances to impress in the next two matches. Thomas McNamara showed he can be an option at left wing last year but lacks the pace to expand NYCFC’s attack.

Jack Harrison has been injured for much of 2016 and is being brought along very slowly by NYCFC. Although left wing is the best position for this year’s number one draft pick, he won’t be starting there in the near future.

Right Wing: Khiry Shelton, Tony Taylor, Mehdi Ballouchy

Shelton is better suited as a right winger and has been battling Tony Taylor for the starting job. Neither has yet to assert themselves as the starter but Shelton’s late goal coupled with a minor injury to Taylor would point to him having the edge at this time. Shelton looks to be the faster, more dangerous player in attack but Taylor has both experience and a better sense for the position.

Mehdi Ballouchy has had a decent preseason and is well-liked around the locker room. Ballouchy will probably not be a regular contributor but can be a useful backup if needed.

Striker: David Villa (DP, I), Patrick Mullins, Khiry Shelton

David Villa will lead the forward line for NYCFC for 2016. His 18 goals from 2015 are enough of a reason why but look for Villa to be more involved defending from the front this season. Villa’s defensive work has been underrated but it can be quite effective when used as part of a broader team defense strategy — his final season with Atletico Madrid serves as a good example.

Patrick Mullins is making a strong case for regular playing time this preseason with his work in front of goal and in bringing teammates into the attack. Mullins will at least be the extra forward Vieira turns to when he needs a goal, whether Mullins makes the most of those opportunities will go far in determining if he can be a starter in the future.

As for the season opener, here’s the best guess at a starting lineup: Saunders; Martinez, Brillant, White; Iraola; Pirlo; Diskerud, McNamara; Matarrita, Villa, Shelton.

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  • Jason Kreis

    The new coach at NYCFC is anti American players. He will soon find that the OLD, and I do mean OLD players on the roster like the 34 year OLD right back will not hold up well against athletic teams like Red Bulls. Big learning curve coming to try and coach in MLS.
    Unfortunately I predict three more losses to Red Bulls this season.

    • slowleftarm

      tell me what team do they hold up well against ?


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