The busy season rolls on for a New York City FC team that promises to look a hell of a lot different from the one that trotted out onto the field last March at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Today, the franchise announced the completion of a long-rumored loan deal for defensive midfielder Federico Bravo of Argentinian titans Boca Juniors.
Bravo had been listed as an NYCFC player on Transfermarkt since January 28th, and had already joined the team in preseason camp.
Bravo is the newest addition to the 2016 NYCFC recruiting class that has deeply emphasized defensive steel, joining midfielder Mikey Lopez and defenders Frederic Brillant and Ronald Mattarrita. While the Bronx Blues eventually figured out how to score last year, their back four couldn't buffer overworked goalkeeper Josh Saunders, and deep midfielders Andrew Jacobson and Andrea Pirlo stood little to no chance of shielding the back four.
New York City FC sporting director Claudio Reyna had this to say on the occasion, per NYCFC.com:
"Federico is a good passing defensive midfielder who can shield the back four. He’s played over 35 first team games for Boca Juniors in a very competitive league. We’re getting a player with good experience that can provide depth and qualities we need."
Added new head coach Patrick Vieira:
He’s a holding midfielder that can also play at the back, I like this versatility. He’s got good technical ability and importantly his game understanding is really good. He’s already fitted well into the group and trained with the players for the first time yesterday. He is fit and ready to play".
This year's signings -- and really, only a couple of them have to pan out to make this year infinitely more promising -- represent an unambiguous effort to create the kind of attractive and proactive footballing style long-promised in the Five Boroughs.
With that in mind, let's get to know Federico Bravo.
D.O.B.: 5 October 1993
BIRTHPLACE: Jesús María, Córdoba, Argentina
HEIGHT: 6' (1.85m)
PRIMARY POSITIONS: Defensive midfield/central midfield
SECONDARY POSITION: Center back
ESTIMATED VALUE: Per Transfermarkt, €800,000 (about $907,000)
Welcome to the club, Federico! Frederic Brillant probably never dreamt -- not even in his most fanciful leaps of imagination -- that NYCFC would sign another Freddy B. Believe it, Frederic! It's all. Really. Happening.