New York City FC has completely revamped their roster, but how many will make a major impact this season is still a question mark. Many will see playing time right away, while others were brought in for much needed depth. Now, we will look at how big of an impact each player will make. (1 being virtually no impact, 10 being a vital player for the club)
Frédédric Brillant: 10, Previous club: KV Oostende (Belgium)- The 30 year-old Frenchman was brought in to bolster the New York City defense, which was among the league's worst last season. A calm, experienced, and technical player, look for Brillant to bring some stability and consistency to the backline. He seems to have acclimated himself well during preseason, and he seems to have formed a solid partnership with fellow newcomer Ethan White. Brillant should be a huge upgrade over former starter Jason Hernandez, who was serviceable, but not much more. Brillant may be the best addition to the NYCFC squad, at its weakest position, so a 10 rating is a no brainer.
Ethan White: 8, Previous club:
DC United Philadelphia Union (MLS)- White looks to be a major contributor for NYCFC this year. He seems to have the inside track to be the starting centerback opposite Frederic Brillant. He has been getting major minutes as the starter during preseason. Not only does he look to be the starting centerback, but he seems to also have a shot at minutes at right-back. White can infuse some youth and talent to a backline which desperately needs it. Look for White to lock down major minutes, and be a pivotal player for the club.
Ronald Matarrita: 9, Previous Club: Alajuelense (Costa Rica)- The Costa Rican international looks to be one of NYCFC's most important signings. He looks to be one of the three new additions to the starting back four. Matarrita is an up-and-coming player who was courted by some teams in Europe before signing with NYCFC. With the starting left-back spot up for grabs, look for Matarrita to lock it down all season long. He is clearly the most talented player at that position, and he has the ability to get forward and support the attacking-style football that Patrick Vieira has been seeking. Furthermore, it would not be surprising to see Matarrita playing further forward at left-wing, as he has seen some time there during preseason.
Jack Harrison: 7, Previous club: Wake Forest University (NCAA)- Many readers will probably think a 7 is far too high for the number 1 overall draft pick, but there are plenty of justifications for this rating. First of all, Jack Harrison is a massively talented 19 year-old, who scored 8 goals and 11 assists last season for the Demon Deacons. However, the main reason for Jack Harrison scoring so highly is that NYCFC is going to have a huge amount of departures throughout the season due to international play (Especially in the midfield). Mix Diskerud has consistently factored into the USMNT, and Copa America takes place in 2016. Khiry Shelton is likely to be called up for the US U-23 Olympic qualifier. Andrea Pirlo is still in Italy's picture, and Euro 2016 is coming up. Ronald Matarrita will most likely be called up for Costa Rica. He may be the starting left-back, but he may get some playing time on the wings, where Harrison may be most effective. Finally, Kwadwo Poku is still on Ghana's radar, and there is certainly a chance he may miss games due to international play.
Diego Martínez: 4, Previous club: Patronato de Parana (On loan from River Plate) (Argentina)- Diego Martinez, a 24 year old Argentine left-back, seems to have been brought in almost strictly for depth. With Matarrita likely being the starting left-back, Martinez looks to see sparse playing time. Martinez is much more of a defensive full-back than Matarrita, who likes to get forward. Martinez does have a shot to make an impact, but that is only if Patrick Vieira decides to play Matarrita further forward at left wing. If that's not the case, then look for Martinez to be riding the pine most of the season.
Federico Bravo: 6, On loan from: Boca Juniors (Argentina)- Bravo is a tough player to rate. His impact really boils down to what formation Patrick Vieira decides to play. In a 4-3-3 the favored midfield seems be Thomas McNamara, Andrea Pirlo, and Mix Diskerud. Vieira has seemed confident playing without a true defensive midfielder such as Bravo. However, if Vieira decides to play a three-man backline, then Bravo could feature quite frequently. The three-man backline has seen its fair share of experimentation this preseason, so Bravo has a shot to make a fairly significant impact this season.
Mikey Lopez: 2, Previous Club: Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL)- Lopez, a defensive midfielder, was originally drafted by Sporting Kansas City, but he never played consistently enough to stick to the roster, and he was loaned to Orlando City (while the club was still in the USL) and Oklahoma City. He was eventually sold to Oklahoma City, where he played all of last season. Lopez again, looks to be almost strictly depth. He seems to be stuck behind Federico Bravo and Andrew Jacobson on the defensive midfield depth-chart. Not only that, but with all the other midfield players the club has, Lopez doesn't seem to figure into the starting lineup very often.
NYCFC has completely revamped its roster this offseason, and only Patrick Vieira truly knows how big of an impact each of these new players will have. However, it seems to be very clear that the squad has far more talent and much-needed depth than in its inaugural season.