NYCFC have proven to have a surprisingly good record without David Villa who missed 20 games over his four years with the Club. The Spaniard was the face of NYCFC scoring 80 goals in 124 appearances, but New York City were fine without Villa, winning 11 of the 20 games he missed, including a 5-1 win over Colorado Rapids in 2016, and a 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake in 2018. David missed 12 games in 2018, in that time, the Club won 7 games, tied 2, and lost 3. Here are players who will shine without David Villa.
Jo Inge Berget- Despite rumors circulating that he is unhappy in New York and is looking for a return to Europe, Berget actually played better without David Villa. Berget scored four goals and got three assists last season, and with David Villa out of the team, Berget scored four goals and got two assists. It seemed Torrent figured out Berget with playing the long ball and using Bergets hold up play was a key factor to the Vikings limited success. If Berget were to stay, don't be surprised if he came off the bench in losing positions to try and help win games.
Jesus Medina- A Designated Player who was incredibly inconsistent in 2018, Jesus Medina has the making of a playmaker and potentially the long term replacement for Maxi Moralez. The Paraguayan forward scored six goals and had seven assists in 2018, and was shining in NYCFCs early unbeaten run in which David Villa missed four games in that span. Medina also shined in the July scoring four goals and got two assists over the seven games that Villa had missed. An injury in August and inconsistencies in the lineup did halt his good form, but there's a good season ahead. A second season in New York, knowing what's expected from him, and now hopefully comfortable in the area, don't be surprised if the playmaker gets into double figures for assists.
Jonathan Lewis- A clearly talented winger who has made 25 appearances in his previous two seasons, Jonathan Lewis is a talented player who has had an impact. Who can forget that 94th minute winner against New England? Or the 85th minute game winning assist for Maxi Moralez against the Red Bulls? In limited action, Lewis impressed former Columbus Crew and new USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter enough to get a call up to the senior national team for a training camp. Additionally, Jonathan Lewis has a gotten a lot of attention from the NYCFC media team at the training camp, and with Villa gone, we could see some movement in the front line with our wingers which could be a positive for the young player. Quick and instinctive, Lewis needs a big year, and he could play as an auxiliary striker for the first half of the season, which could only be a good thing for him and NYCFC.
The Defense- I know this is kind of cheating, but NYCFC were more defensive minded without Villa in 2018. NYC kept 10 shutouts in 2018, 6 in 12 games without Villa, while only 4 shutouts in 22 games with Villa. As long as the defense has better focus and Sean Johnson gets more of a challenge from the back up goalies, I wouldn't be surprised in NYCFC get a bit more defensive, especially against teams like Atlanta and the Red Bulls.