NYCFC Notes: Kreis kills Aduriz rumor, talks home record, Velasquez returns, more

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

PURCHASE, N.Y. – If it is early enough to entertain offseason speculation, than it is also early enough to address rumors.

That is what NYCFC boss Jason Kreis did on Thursday as he spoke about Aritz Aduriz who has been linked to both New York City FC and the LA Galaxy by several Spanish media reports.

The 34-year-old Athletic Bilbao striker is one of the most prolific scorers in La Liga, scoring 134 goals in league play since 2002. The striker has scored 11 times in 14 matches in all competitions this season and is nearing the century-mark in goals for the club.

Despite that resume — and his familiarity with NYCFC fullback and former Bilbao teammate Andonis Iraola — Aduriz does not seem to be joining NYCFC anytime soon.

“I don’t even know his name,” head coach Jason Kreis said after practice Thursday afternoon.

While Kreis may be unfamiliar with his work, it is worth noting that Sporing Director Claudio Reyna would be more in-tune with potential offseason hiring. Nevertheless, Kreis’ outright admission of not recognizing the player by name is a damning blow to already questionable rumors.

POOR HOME RECORD PROVES COSTLY

Villa and Lampard both declined to point out the weak spots within the team that resulted in its elimination from playoff contention. Kreis, however, pointed to the team’s record at Yankee Stadium as a clear culprit.

The boss has a point. Though expected turf issues at Yankee Stadium turned out to be moot this season, NYCFC’s home record with one match remaining is 6–6–4. The 22 points dropped are tied for worst in the Eastern Conference.

“If I look at our season as a whole, I would tell you that the one biggest problem we have is that we didn’t win enough games at home,” Kreis said. “We’re a .500 team at home and you can never make the playoffs in this league if you’re a .500 team at home. You have to win those games at home and you have to make your home a fortress. That has to be the place where you’re picking up the majority of the points because as we know, it’s difficult to travel in our league.”

Now that NYCFC will have a year of playing in Yankee Stadium under their belts, they know what to expect from the narrow, converted-from-baseball field. That knowledge will be used in adapting the side and acquiring talent for next season.

“I think it’s something that we have to consider,” Kreis said. “We also have to consider the team we have and the style we’re trying to play. We need to fit our style of play around the players that we have. Certainly the players that we know are a core of this team and will be here for next year and then we need to add pieces to that core to also help strengthen those players and make them look better.”

ROTATING THE SQUAD

With New York City FC out of playoff contention, head coach Jason Kreis said he has the chance to rotate his squad with an eye towards the future — while also ensuring that they are competitive in their final two matches.

“You want to be able to give guys some minutes that maybe haven’t gotten minutes in a few weeks or months just so you have a very firm evaluation of what they’re capable of doing and what they might be able to do for you next year,” Kreis said.

Jefferson Mena and Thomas McNamara trained with the first team regulars Thursday afternoon. Those two players have seen their playing time diminish during NYCFC’s playoff push as Kreis favored more veteran options at their respective positions.

The NYCFC midfield trio of Andrew Jacobson, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard remained in tact. Pirlo was fully involved in training Thursday despite being sidelined for both of Italy’s Euro 2016 qualifiers with an injury. He will travel with the team to Orlando.

VELASQUEZ RETURNS FROM LEAGUE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAM

And in a bit of positive news, Sebastian Velasquez announced his return to the team following his stint at the league-mandated substance abuse program:

 

 

 


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