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HRB Roundtable: Will NYCFC be a contender in 2023?

New York City are undergoing the biggest rebuild in club history — are the kids ready to lead the way? Or will NYCFC miss the postseason for the first time in seven years?

Is this the NYCFC Starting XI? |

Welcome to the latest edition of the Hudson River Blue Roundtable, in which Calvin DanielNoah Kassell-YungAndrew LeighAnthony McKenna, and Raf Noboa y Rivera try to get a handle on the new-look New York City FC, and handicap how this season is going to unfold. 

1. NYCFC are not only undergoing the biggest rebuild in club history, they’re replacing an exodus of talent that’s unprecedented since the founding of MLS. How do you feel about the offseason transfers overall?

Andrew Leigh: I had a feeling significant roster turnover was a possibility this offseason, but I didn’t think it would be this extreme. It’s been the most painful offseason in NYCFC’s existence from a roster turnover perspective. That said, there is still a good amount of talent in place and I think it would be foolish to write off the 2023 season because of all the personnel losses. I do like the look of the few new signings to arrive as reinforcements, and think that David Lee will lean on that crucial City Football Group scouting network to find the right players to address the roster’s multiple areas of need.

Raf Noboya y Rivera: Right now? Massively underwhelmed. As of February 15, the Pigeons have brought in five players: three defenders (one on loan), a goalkeeper, and a striker. Only one of them — Matt Freese, the aforementioned goalkeeper — is expected to make an immediate impact, and frankly, I wouldn’t be shocked if Freese loses out to Luis Barraza, given that Barraza was Sean Johnson’s backup. 

But I’ll give this an incomplete for now because City Football Group is notorious for taking their time with signing players, and I just cannot imagine that they’re done adding to the roster. The primary transfer window for MLS lasts until April 24, and the secondary window runs from July 5 until August 2. I fully expect additions to come until then.

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