With two games of preseason down and both games against successful Scandinavian Clubs, NYCFC have shown promising signs. Despite not beating Copenhagen or AIK respectively, I saw lots of good signs, and was impressed by many individual performances. Here are four players who impressed me so far.
Alex Mitrita-The new Designated Player is not only NYCFCs record signing, but one of the most expensive incoming players in MLS history, to add on that he's the first DP signing after David Villa. Coming from Craiova of the Romanian Liga I, Mitrita was already in midseason form and had 12 goals and 4 assists in 16 appearances, and has 22 goals in his last 45 appearances dating back to last season. Not bad for a midfielder. In his first game for NYCFC, Mitrita impressed with a banging strike into the top corner of the goal only minutes into the second half, but also many chances created by the 23 year old. A very good and comfortable performance for a guy who only joined with the team a few days earlier.
Tony Rocha-This is a guy who I was rather concerned about when he signed from Orlando. An American defensive mid who barely played for Orlando, a team who've gotten worse by the season. Despite my doubt, Rocha showed fantastic versatility and energy as he showed he can cover for teammates in midfield as well as show great confidence and energy as a fullback. He's played very well. So far, he looks to be an upgrade on some of the depth players last season.
Luis Barraza-The first round draft pick that confused everyone, Barraza is now the fourth goal keeper under contract with NYCFC right now. Signing for the team before preseason even began, I was really concerned about the objective of the team, but that second half performance against Barraza was great. Very confident coming off his line and very comfortable with the ball at his feet, Barraza also had very good reactions.
Brad Stuver- My first impressions of Stuver were bad. Conceding eight goals in three appearances last season, showing a very nervous goalkeeper. His first half performance against Copenhagen showed a very different goalkeeper. He actually looked comfortable and had much better reactions. A somewhat MLS experienced goalkeeper, I'd be interested in how he'll perform for the rest of preseason, and probably in the U.S. Open Cup.
Joe Scally-The 16 year old right back signed as a home grown player last season and came on as a substitute for David Villa and played as a striker in the Open Cup loss to the Red Bulls last season and that was my only impression. In his two preseason games, he's shown his maturity on both sides of the ball. Scally was defensively calm and put a couple of dangerous crosses into the box. Learning from a guy like Tinnerholm, a man who has championship winning experience and has been super productive, scoring 4 goals and notched 6 assists in 32 appearances in 2018, and in the last two seasons with NYCFC and Malmo has 7 goals and 9 assists, I hope Scally can learn from a guy like that. So far, there are promising signs for one of many young Americans at NYCFC.