2021 League Games: 5 games, 5 starts, 450 minutes played
2021 Postseason: 0 games, 0 starts, 0 minutes played
What went right in 2021:
Nobody wants to be the backup goalkeeper. You train with the team every day, then spend almost every match on the bench readying yourself to play in a game you know you’ll only watch. Still, backups in MLS can get starts if the first-choice goalkeeper gets called up for the national team.
By that calculus, Luis Barraza’s opportunities to play for New York City FC depended on Sean Johnson’s opportunities to play for the USMNT. That put Barraza in goal five times in 2021, all in July, and he did good: Three wins, two clean sheets. He allowed five goals, but two of those were penalties. Most importantly, he helped keep NYCFC in every game he started. You couldn’t ask much more of the 25-year-old.
What to improve in 2022:
Barraza looked jumpy in his first two starts, which was understandable. Both were one-goal losses, which was painful. Now that he played in the bigs Barraza should be calmer in the goal when he gets the chance to start this year.
What to expect in 2022:
Johnson will get more playing time for the USMNT, which means Barraza will get more playing time for NYCFC. You can see that there’s chemistry between Barraza and the rest of the squad–he's popular with the lads–and that bond will go a long way when he gets the chance to start: The defenders will work a little harder to protect him, and the team as a whole will make their support a little more vocal. Most important, NYCFC will always have a chance of getting a good result when Barraza is in goal.