NYCFC’s Kreis goes local – and RSL heavy – in promising expansion draft

Ned Grabavoy

New York City FC selected ten players in today’s expansion draft, including a pair of former Real Salt Lake players and three local products.

NYCFC coach Jason Kreis will be reunited with MLS stalwart Ned Grabavoy and Long Islander, Chris Wingert.  They join FC Dallas defender George John, Revolution defender Patrick Mullins and forward Tony Taylor, Toronto midfielder Daniel Lovitz, former Red Bull Mehdi Ballouchy, Sporting KC midfielder Sal Zizzo and local boys Jason Hernandez and Thomas McNamara.

Grabavoy and Wingert, two mainstays of the Kreis era in Real Salt Lake, represent transitional figures and team leaders that will help the former RSL man to stabilize and guide his new club.  Ballouchy is familiar with Kreis as well, though he was traded to Colorado for Kyle Beckerman in 2006, making for an odd reunion.

Zizzo is a player who is nearing his prime at 27, finding his footing once more with Sporting KC last season.  A valuable contributor, he has the ability to make his mark with NYCFC and immediately challenge for a midfield spot.

Defender George John, who spent last season out with injury, is a reclamation project with a high ceiling.  John was being looked at two short years ago by European scouts hungry to reinforce their back line.  Coming off of knee surgery this past August, NYCFC will hope he finds that form ahead of the new season.

NYCFC went young in this draft, with four of their ten picks age 25 and under.   McNamara and Mullins lead the pack of talented youngsters, with Lovitz and Taylor rounding out the youth core.

Finally, veteran Jason Hernandez returns to New York for the first time since 2005 when he was a part of the Metrostars.  Since then, the New York native has been a stalwart of San Jose, regularly appearing as a starter since 2008.

Overall, Kreis and his staff had an otherwise outstanding performance with their picks.  Sacrificing flash for substance, Kreis made several moves to secure proven leaders, bright prospects and familiar faces to reinforce his side.  Wingert and Grabavoy give the NYCFC boss strong locker room allies while players like Hernandez and John bring leadership and experience.  Ballouchy is familiar with both Kreis and New York City, giving NYCFC a veteran with a modicum of knowledge in the area.  Most promising, players like Mullins and McNamara offer a foundation for the future.  Each enjoyed successful spells in their first season and will be looked at to push incoming veterans for starting minutes.


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  • Anthony

    Grabavoy is good, the rest are bench fodder.

  • Fred

    Oh my god. THE REVENGE OF THE MEHDI IS COMING. (We think.)

  • Matt Rasmussen

    Balloucy’s revenge will be one less back pass per game than he had for RBNY.

    • I COMPLETELY forgot about the infamous back passing haha.

  • NYsoccerfan

    This was a good, balanced review. I like the mix of players they took. Shame NYCFC couldn’t add Beckerman or Plata to add greater experience and talent.

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