Earlier this morning, New York City FC announced they signed veteran MLS defender Jose “Tony” Alfaro to a one-year contract with an option for 2024. The 29-year-old was born in Mexico but has spent most of his career playing in MLS, signing with Seattle Sounders in 2016 and most recently featuring for DC United in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Alfaro is a towering 6’ 2” and weighs 190 pounds. Last year, Alfaro made 18 appearances for DC United and started in nine of those games, logging a total of 936 minutes. According to his defensive stats on FBRef, Alfaro is in the 93rd percentile for shots blocked and 85th percentile for dribbles contested, but he ranks in just the 37th percentile for tackles won, 45th percentile for interceptions, and 18th percentile for clearances made.
The statement issued by NYCFC said that “Tony will add depth and quality at the center back position.” Seemingly her will take over the backup central defender role most recently occupied by the departed Vuk Latinovich, who often made the bench in the game day lineup card but who appeared in just five games in 2022, never fully earning the trust of Nick Cushing and Ronny Deila.
Alfaro had a guaranteed salary of $89,513 with DC United last year, while Latinovich made $85,444 with NYCFC.
Alfaro is the first signing NYCFC have announced in an offseason that might prove to be a rebuilding year. Earlier this week, New York City announced that defensive midfielder Nicolás Acevedo will go on loan to Esporte Clube Bahia in Brazil through 2023, while defender Anton Tinnerholm left for Malmö FF in Sweden back in November. In addition, rumors persist that playmaker Maxi Moralez will leave for Racing Club in Argentina, and attacking midfielder Santiago Rodríguez will return to Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay.