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Best- and worst-case scenarios for every NYCFC player in 2017

Let’s talk about floors and ceilings.

MLS: Playoffs-Toronto FC at New York City FC
David Villa’s durability has been remarkable. What happens if he can’t keep it going?
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

As New York City FC embarks on its third Major League Soccer campaign, the departure of Frank Lampard and the addition of twelve new faces leaves us with a number of questions sitting unanswered.

There’s sure to be a learning curve for Patrick Vieira’s team this year-- but what kind, exactly? Man for man, let’s go down the roster and sketch out the best-case and worst-case expectations for NYCFC in year three.

Sean Johnson

BEST-CASE: Grows accustomed to building from the back, starts every single game between the sticks, makes multiple MLS Teams of the Week

WORST-CASE: Struggles with the ball at his feet, becomes part of a shaky goalkeeping carousel

Ben Sweat

BEST-CASE: Performs admirably as a sub and occasional spot-starter at center-half or on the left side of a back three

WORST-CASE: Rides the bench, but ranks are too thin to justify sending him to San Antonio for playing time

Ethan White

BEST-CASE: Improves earnestly on an uneven 2016

WORST-CASE: Is a liability in buildup play, gets scorched on numerous counter-attacks

Maxime Chanot

BEST-CASE: Definitively becomes New York City’s best center back, and shines on the right side of a back three; makes MLS Best XI

WORST-CASE: Can’t find chemistry with those around him, defense remains rudderless

Mikey Lopez

BEST-CASE: Returns from injury and immediately becomes an impact sub in the box-to-box role; scores a game-winning header vs. the Red Bulls totally against the run of play

WORST-CASE: Never finds his rhythm and gets buried on the depth chart

Alexander Callens

BEST-CASE: Becomes the center back that Jefferson Mena couldn’t be: a supreme athlete with the ability to turn defensive stops into ruthless attacks with real confidence

WORST-CASE: Can’t adjust to Vieira’s philosophy, gets annihilated in the air, too many poor passes

David Villa

BEST-CASE: Repeats as MLS MVP and wins his first Golden Boot thanks to a sterling partnership with Maxi Moralez; wins Nobel Peace Prize

WORST-CASE: Finally starts to show his age; a nagging series of injuries keep him out for nearly a third of the regular season

Alex Ring

BEST-CASE: Reveals himself to be the dynamic, utterly tireless central midfielder that Mix Diskerud was supposed to be; provides some clutch through-balls in the final third

WORST-CASE: Multiple red cards for reckless tackles; passed over in favor of the largely untested Yangel Herrera

Sean Okoli

BEST-CASE: Provides key depth at center forward, plays well with his back to goal, and exemplifies Vieira’s desire to ‘defend from the front’

WORST-CASE: Looks like a USL player

Maxi Moralez

BEST-CASE: Has 30+ combined goals and assists and steals MVP votes from Villa; scores multiple stunners from 20+ yards away, including an olimpico off a corner kick

WORST-CASE: His tiny frame just can’t stand up to the physicality of MLS

Jack Harrison

BEST-CASE: Builds on last year’s breakout rookie campaign, starting nearly every game on the wing; elevates to #1 on the MLS ‘24 Under 24’ list on the strength of 8 goals and 10 assists

WORST-CASE: A good ol’ sophomore slump; Vieira comes to prefer Miguel Camargo

John Stertzer

BEST-CASE: Is a fantastic teammate and tireless worker; scores two game-winning goals on right-place, right-time tap-ins

WORST-CASE: The injuries that have plagued his career flare up yet again

Frederic Brillant

BEST-CASE: Enhances his reputation as NYCFC’s best defender in the air, is a first-choice pick at center-half all year long, scores three headed goals

WORST-CASE: Zero confidence with the ball at his feet, gets buried on the depth chart by Callens/White/Sweat, becomes a very expensive benchwarmer

Kwame Awuah

BEST-CASE: Works hard, says all the right things, and parlays some strong performances on loan at San Antonio FC into fan favorite status in the Five Boroughs

WORST-CASE: Just doesn’t get a chance

Tommy McNamara

BEST-CASE: Mac Attack! 8 goals, 8 assists, multiple picture-perfect long bombs, equally effective wide to the left in a 4-3-3 or up the middle in a 3-4-3

WORST-CASE: Struggles for minutes thanks to Moralez, Rodney Wallace, and Camargo; the gods themselves shed a river of tears

Jonathan Lewis

BEST-CASE: Arrives in the summertime and immediately distinguishes himself as a lighting-fast super-sub who can get in behind and play well-weighted final balls

WORST-CASE: Due to so much time away from NYCFC with the USA Under-20s, struggles to adjust and has all of us resigned to wait ’til next year to see what he can really do

Khiry Shelton

BEST-CASE: Builds on his massive improvement from year one to year two, is a spot starter and super-sub on both wings, becomes the best aerial goal-scorer in NYCFC’s brief history

WORST-CASE: Wallace and Camargo take all his minutes; gradually loses confidence, transfer speculation mounts

Andrea Pirlo

BEST-CASE: Leads MLS in assists, develops a brilliant rapport with Moralez, starts every single game; beard receives MVP votes

WORST-CASE: Becomes such a defensive liability that he is no longer a first-choice starter free of any context; shaves beard :-(

Ronald Matarrita

BEST-CASE: Establishes himself as the best attacking fullback in Major League Soccer

WORST-CASE: Sold in June to a high-profile European club that won’t even play him

Rodney Wallace

BEST-CASE: Is a legitimate all-around threat on the left half of the field, and combines timely runs with keen defending from the front; starts at least 20 games

WORST-CASE: He’s on international duty when NYCFC needs him the most

Andre Rawls

BEST-CASE: Starts in the US Open Cup and makes highlight reel saves; a supporters group is created in his honor

WORST-CASE: Uncertainty at the number-one spot prevents him from heading to San Antonio FC for meaningful playing time

Eirik Johansen

BEST-CASE: Viewed by the experts as a worthy foil to Sean Johnson

WORST-CASE: Starts in the US Open Cup and New York City loses yet again; Jozy Altidore haunts his dreams

RJ Allen

BEST-CASE: Further solidifies himself as the first-choice right back and designated early crosser; scores 3 goals and dishes 7 assists

WORST-CASE: New York City prefers to play with a back three, and he struggles to earn starts; eventually seen as surplus to requirements

Yangel Herrera

BEST-CASE: Becomes the full-time number-six midfielder, can score from 30 yards away, is Baby Vieira, can shoot lasers from his eyes but chooses not to out of humility

WORST-CASE: Too raw to entrust with high-leverage minutes; NYCFC’s troubles in defensive midfield continue

Shannon Gomez

BEST-CASE: Overtakes Allen at right fullback; blistering pace wreaks havoc on opposition, opening up acres of space for Moralez and Villa

WORST-CASE: Re-injures the knee that caused him to miss the second half of last season

Miguel Camargo

BEST-CASE: Establishes himself as a tricky, sure-footed, technically lethal option up the middle or out wide; becomes NYCFC’s breakout star in 2017

WORST-CASE: Takes too many touches, doesn’t know when to lay the ball off, frustrates the fans to no end with unfinished efforts

Well, there it is! Did we nail it, or are we completely nuts? Let us know what you think!