New York City FC flies to Abu Dhabi this evening with the official 30 man traveling party as the Club’s 2019 preseason gets underway #ForTheCity— New York City FC (@NYCFC) January 28, 2019
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The lineup reads as follows.
Goalkeepers: Sean Johnson#, Brad Stuver, Jeff Caldwell, Luis Barraza, Alex Rando*
Defenders: Anton Tinnerholm, Joe Scally, Abdi Mohamed^, Maxime Chanot, Sebastien Ibeagha, Tayvon Gray*, Alexander Callens, Nico Benalcazar*, Ronald Matarrita, Ben Sweat
Midfielders: Alexander Ring, Ebenezer Ofori, James Sands, Justin Haak, Keaton Parks, Tony Rocha, Juan Pablo Torres, Dante Polvara*, Maxi Moralez, Danny Bedoya, Veljko Petkovic*
Forwards: Jonathan Lewis#, Jesus Medina, Valentin Castellanos, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
* Academy Player
^ Unsigned Draft Pick
# will join at conclusion of USMNT camp
The team announced will be traveling to Abu Dhabi where NYCFC will begin training and participate in friendlies against clubs FC Copenhagen and AIK on February 3 and February 8 respectively.
Notable omissions are striker Jo Inge Berget and center back Cedric Hontoundji; Berget was recently released from the club after the two parties mutually terminated the Norwegian's contract and Hountondji was waived earlier today.
Berget’s release means that there is no through-and-through striker on the club. And barring a late a signing or two, it’s likely that NYCFC will line up in 2019 without a pure No. 9 and elect to feature someone, like Maxi Moralez, in a False 9 role instead.
NYCFC youth academy players such as Alex Rando, Tayvon Gray, Nico Benalcazar, and Veljko Petkovic will be joining the first team on their trip. The most notable of these has to be Tayvon Gray, who has been lighting it up with the US U-17 squad recently. Primarily looked at as a defensive midfielder, it’s unlikely that Gray will be picked up any time soon with players like Alex Ring, James Sands, Ebenezer Ofori, and the newly acquired Keaton Parks all competing for first team minutes in 2019. But a good showing for Gray could put his name right at the top of the list when it comes to future academy signings.
One interesting observation is that NYCFC enters 2019 with four signed goalkeepers. Unless the Blues can finally figure out how loans work, I fully expect one of these players — namely Jeff Caldwell — to not be with the team come March. That’s not a knock on Caldwell; after all, we have yet to see him play in a competitive environment. However, he’s not “Domé’s guy.” That would be Luis Barraza, whom City drafted in the first round of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft earlier this month.