Mystery int’l slot brings NYCFC to roster compliance

NYCFC Patrick VIeira

by DAVE MARTINEZ and CHRISTIAN ARAOS

Will New York City FC be forced to cut one of their 11 international players to meet MLS roster compliance?

The simple answer is no — but the explanation is far more complicated than that.

According to multiple sources, including those within MLS, New York City FC are compliant with the league roster rules ahead of its regular season opener against the Chicago Fire. This may come as a surprise to many NYCFC fans and observers who have counted just 10 slots coming into the 2016 season.

However, Empire of Soccer has learned that NYCFC received an eleventh international slot – a slot that was never publicly reported or accounted for.

Here is the what is known: in accordance with MLS roster rules, NYCFC were handed eight international slots to start the 2015 season. It is confirmed that they acquired two additional spots that expire at the end of 2016 via separate trades with D.C. United (for allocation money) and the LA Galaxy (allocation money).

That brings the count to ten slots.

Trades this offseason with Philadelphia (Ethan White) and Chicago (Jack Harrison) did not include international exchanges. Like the DC and LA deals, NYCFC could have swapped allocation for an international slot this offseason, but that is just conjecture.

MLS does not publicly reveal the number of international slots per team, leaving one to guess at just how this roster spot was acquired in the first place. EoS could not confirm the source of this 11th slot as of this report. Fortunately, the withholding of international slot information is a league practice that is set to change this year, possibly shedding light on this entire affair.

For those keeping count, NYCFC house the following international players: Frederic Brillant, Jack Harrison, Andoni Iraola, Eirik Johansen, Frank Lampard, Diego Martínez, Ronald Matarrita, Jefferson Mena, Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and Federico Bravo