NYCFC in the Dark as Transfer Window Closes

Photo by Matt Kremkau

By CHRISTIAN ARAOS

NYCFC logoThe gap between New York City FC and the best teams in Major League Soccer was laid bare last month. A fortunate draw, difficult win and heavy defeat revealed to Coach Patrick Vieira that his team needs more talent to challenge for silverware.

“The Toronto loss [4-0] was a big setback for what we want to do,” Vieira said. “It just showed that we don’t have the depth that allows us to miss a few players and that is why this window is really important for us. I hope that we are going to bring around two-to-three new faces to our team because that will be important for us if we want to compete better than what we did in the past two-three months.”

Vieira said that there are players who they are currently negotiating for, saying that there’s “not so much to go” before a move could be completed. He would not specify whether NYCFC would be looking within or outside MLS for its potential additions.

“That is too much information,” Vieira, said joking.

City had to re-enter the transfer market, after initially indicating that it would be inactive, because of injuries to wide players and defenders. Starting left back Ronald Matarrita is sidelined until at least September with a broken foot while center back Maxime Chanot is week to week with a groin injury.

The Pigeons gave themselves a second available international slot by placing Miguel Camargo on the season-ending injury list Friday but are still pressed against the cap. They will not receive salary budget relief from MLS for Camargo’s injury since it happened outside the primary transfer window.

They can trade for salary cap space to sign a replacement player. Even if they received the relief, it would not have been much since Camargo has a reported salary of about $108,000. Several fans including a member of the Third Rail board said they had heard the team’s cap space is making a move difficult. Whether that’s true or not rides on information that is not publicly available.

City is linked to Bryan Ruiz, the Costa Rican attacking midfielder currently contracted to Sporting Clube de Portugal. Ruiz, 31, has a year left on the contract but has been told according to several reports that he is not in the team’s plans for the upcoming season. FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenorio reported in July that MLS had been inquiring and there are clubs that can afford to sign Ruiz. It is uncertain if NYCFC can, but Minnesota United, the other club linked with Ruiz, can use allocation money or a designated player slot to sign him.

Ruiz would add depth to City’s attack and can play in any of the three attacking midfield positions but New York City is also seeking to add to it defense, which is also being ravaged by injuries. Chanot could be out for another month as is James Sands who was already not expected to receive significant playing time this season. That leaves Frederic Brillant and Alex Callens as the only healthy center backs on the roster.

Vieira did not elaborate on which positions City is looking at and although Sporting Director Claudio Reyna attended Thursday’s training session, he declined a request to speak to assembled media. We’re left to guess and compile what’s been introduced by Diario Diez and others from Costa Rica. Nothing is out there about any defensive additions.

What we do know is the obvious. Vieira said whomever is potentially added would be someone who can start right away or close to it.

“We don’t want to bring players just to add numbers,” he said. “It has to be somebody who will have an impact on the team and that can be in the starting 11 or off the bench, depending on how well he does and how he adapts himself but it will be somebody that will have an impact in the team.”

With three days left in the window, dominoes are going to have to begin falling for City to make the additions Vieira believes are necessary. Placing Camargo on the season-ending injury list may have been the first one to fall. Yet City is closer to the New York Red Bulls  in the table than Toronto FC as August begins and no one is clear on how it’s going to close.