RJ Allen, Frederic Brillant, Eirik Johansen, Ronald Matarrita, Tommy McNamara, Andre Rawls and Khiry Shelton have all had their contract options exercised. In addition, the club has agreed on new deals with Ethan White, and Mikey Lopez for next season. The club also finalized a transfer agreement with W Connection for the services of Shannon Gomez, who’s contract option was also exercised.
In contrast, Connor Brandt, Diego Martinez, Tony Taylor and perhaps most surprisingly Jason Hernandez will not have their contract options exercised, while Frank Lampard’s deal has expired. Hernandez tweeted a heartfelt message to NYCFC supporters this morning:
Brandt, Taylor, and Hernandez are all NYCFC originals, having been with the club since last year’s inaugural season. Of the three, Hernandez played the most significant role with the club: he was a key member of last season’s backline, but saw his role diminish in 2016 to more of a late game sub role at both the right back and center back positions as the year wore on. Brandt has spent the last two seasons rehabbing injuries that have kept him off of the field.
Taylor lost most of last season due to an ACL tear early in the campaign, but bounced back to be a solid contributor for the Boys in Blue, even earning himself a call-up from the Panamanian National Team, earning his first cap in the last round of World Cup qualifying matches.
Also, Federico Bravo (Boca Juniors) and Steven Mendoza (Corinthians) have both reported back to their parent clubs upon the expiration of their loan deals. According to Empire of Soccer, it appears that the purchase options were too expensive for NYCFC to take on with the league’s current salary cap restrictions. Both were players most supporters were hoping could be brought on in a more permanent basis with the club, but it seems like what they brought to the club will need to be sought out elsewhere.
Including the retirements of Mehdi Ballouchy and Andoni Iraola, that leaves the club without at least 6 players who regularly saw time either in the Starting XI or made the 18 man squad during most matches this season. Claudio Reyna and Patrick Vieira will have a lot of work to do this winter to improve the roster with the hopes of making a deeper playoff run next season. The team’s depth played a big role in the club’s success, something I’m sure both Reyna and Vieira are well aware of and will be looking to improve upon for next season.