Skip to content

New York City FC 2023 Midterm Report Card

The HRB crew sits down for a Roundtable discussion and grade NYCFC’s performance halfway through the 2023 season.


Welcome to the second annual New York City FC midterm report card, in which John Barney, Andrew Leigh, Raf Noboa y Rivera, and Oliver Strand hand out NYCFC midterm grades — and add helpful comments we know the club will read and take to heart.

1. Goalkeeping

Raf Noboa y Rivera: New York City FC carries three goalkeepers on the roster: Luis Barraza, Matt Freese, and Cody Mizell. Barraza is the starter: Although they acquired Freese from the rival Philadelphia Union for $350,000 in general allocation money, Barraza has started every game bar one. Freese did not impress in his solitary start, a 3-1 loss to Eastern Conference leaders FC Cincinnati. Barraza has been solid. He’s clearly the locked-on starter. He’s also a clear step-down from Pigeons stalwart Sean Johnson, for now. He should improve with experience. Midterm Grade: B

Oliver Strand: Conventional wisdom is that Barraza has the starting spot over the more athletic Freese because he’s good with his feet and familiar with the system. While that might be true Barraza has looked shaky at times, and even worse, at odds with the defenders. But Raf is right: He’s improving with experience, and his league-best performance on Saturday against Real Salt Lake was nothing short of brilliant. I’m not going to give into recency bias and give too much weight to that match. Instead I’ll issue a grade for all 17 games so far. Midterm Grade: B-

Andrew Leigh: Barraza has excelled in the starting keeper role following Johnson’s defection over the Canadian border. I agree Barraza has gotten better as the season has gone on, with a notable Player of the Match performance against Real Salt Lake on Matchday 17. Barraza looks mostly comfortable in possession and at times functions as a sweeper keeper, though his distribution has too often left something to be desired. Freese has made two appearances, starting in two losses to the Eastern Conference juggernaut that is FC Cincinnati. Barraza and Freese both look capable at the MLS level, so this position ranks low as an area of concern for the 2023 squad. Midterm Grade: B-

John Baney: Weirdly, I think this might be our strongest position so far this season. Barraza has proven himself to be a capable starter in this league, exhibiting strong feet and an overall solidity seldom found in keepers in their debut season. Plus, from the few minutes of Freese action I’ve seen, he looks impressive as well. How many positions on this NYCFC squad can you say we have two starting-quality players in? I’d say this is the only one, unfortunately. Midterm Grade: A-

This post is for subscribers only


Already have an account? Sign In