Veteran goalkeeper Josh Saunders was one of the few talismanic presences across the modest peaks and brutal valleys of New York City FC's inaugural season.
According to recent reports, the team may be in line to sign a marginally acceptable choice to back up Saunders this summer.
Our friends at NYCFC Nation reported on January 22nd, based on a series of court documents, that the Bronx Blues had bid on former Spanish international goalkeeper Iker Casillas while the player was at Real Madrid. When the move didn't materialize, Casillas ended up at FC Porto, allowing NYCFC to ramp up their eventually successful pursuit of bearded wizard Andrea Pirlo.
But, as it turns out, New York City still has the hots for Casillas, who would figure to add bench depth to Patrick Vieira's side.
As per Spain's El Economista, the laughably out-of-form goalkeeper might be keen to escape an increasingly toxic situation at Porto that resembles -- more with every passing day -- the error-filled play and stunning lack of public faith that precipitated his calamitous exit from Real Madrid.
(In a truly grand understatement, The Guardian's Sid Lowe characterized that Madrid exit as having included "no fanfare.")
The article states that the advantages of a city like New York aren't lost on Casillas, who has no doubt heard NYCFC skipper David Villa and prospective City Football Group scion Pep Guardiola gush about the cosmopolitan, choose-your-own adventure appeal of the City that Never Sleeps.
Most importantly, though, a player mired in such hot-garbage form as Casillas would likely welcome the opportunity to live in a dazzling cultural hub in which so few people are likely to recognize him on the street. Being a backup MLS keeper -- clearly the best-case scenario given his penchant for awful performances -- is a smart move for the 34 year old Casillas as he rounds the final turn of his career. If the money is right, the path ought to be open to MLS.
Josh Saunders, New York City's Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and a regular staple in MLS's Save of the Week competitions, could be just the man to help Casillas regain some of the quality that earned him the captaincy at the Santiago Bernabeu and the number-one role for a series of singularly dominant Spanish national sides.
We all need mentors, folks, and it's never too late to learn some new tricks. If Iker Casillas is willing to listen to a proven veteran like Saunders, the World Cup winner could have a chance to become perhaps the best second-choice keeper in all of Major League Soccer.