The busy season stayed busy for New York City today, and the newest Blues signing will have a chance to add depth at a position of serious need.
Originally the fourteenth-overall pick in the 2013 SuperDraft by Sporting, he is a former Generation adidas player, as well as a veteran of the U.S. Under-20 National Team.
"I’m really excited for this opportunity. I’m thankful that Patrick [Vieira] and Claudio [Reyna] showed confidence in me and offered me this opportunity. I cannot wait to play in front of our fans at the Yankee Stadium, all the players have told me that it’s a great atmosphere. I’m a never say die player. I will fight for every ball and give 100% at all times. The fans will come to expect this type of hard defensive work from me and that I will do everything in my power to keep that zero on the scoreboard."
This is a pleasant statement to the ears of New York City FC fans, who weathered an entire inaugural campaign devoid of a proper "number six," a defensive rock at the base of the midfield. Rather unfairly shoehorned into that role, box-to-box enforcer Andrew Jacobson played his tail off in 2015, but a player better-adjusted to the yeoman's role of a defensive midfielder will arrive as a welcome sight in the Five Boroughs.
Sporting director Claudio Reyna, who has been busy whipping up a slew of signings in the January window, calls Lopez "a young player that has a lot to prove," but insists that "I know he's excited to compete for a starting place in this team."
Added new head coach Patrick Vieira: "Mikey knows the league well, which is a real benefit for us. I think he brings something to the group that we currently lack. He's comfortable in possession, but his strength is closing the opposition down and winning the ball back for the team."
A heady work rate is nothing to sneeze at, even if the player in question is short on senior MLS experience. Bronx Blues fans ought to be excited to see how he meshes with the squad, which is currently down in southwest Florida for preseason training. The first preseason friendly match is scheduled for January 31st against Florida Gulf Coast University.