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2023 Player Preview: Chris Gloster

The 22-year-old was left off the preseason roster, and he could find there's no room for him on the NYCFC Senior Team this year

Good memories.
Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy

Chris Gloster

Position: Left-Back
Age: 22
2022 MLS Season: 11 appearances, 6 starts, 480 minutes played, 1 goal, 1 assist
Key Stat: 5, which was the number of minutes Chris Gloster played in his last appearance for the NYCFC Senior Team at the end of the 1-3 loss to Charlotte FC at Red Bull Arena on August 17, 2022

What went right in 2022:

To go by the numbers, Chris Gloster climbed a rung on the left-back depth chart last season. The New Jersey native, who featured in only four games in 2021, logging 66 minutes and making one start one start, appeared in 11 games in 2022, making 6 starts and playing 480 minutes. It was a logical development for Gloster, who was the presumed backup to Malte Amundsen after New York City FC declined the option of Gudi Thórarinsson.

But that increase in playing time is positive only if you ignore the rise of Kevin O’Toole, the Princeton graduate who jumped from NYCFC II to head coach Nick Cushing’s starter-of-choice at left-back in the final seven games of the season. And if you also ignore that Gloster’s last appearance for the Senior Team took place way back on Matchday 25, when he was subbed in for the final five minutes of a calamitous 1-3 loss to Charlotte FC at Red Bull Arena on August 17. After that cameo, the only minutes Gloster found was playing for NYCFC II.

But this is the “What went right section,” so we’ll set all of that aside and focus on the biggest highlight of Gloster’s year, which was surely the goal he scored at Yankee Stadium when NYCFC overcame a stubborn San Jose Earthquakes to secure a 3-0 win. Here’s the description of the goal from the HRB match summary:

It was Gloster’s first goal in MLS, and it was a beaut: An arcing Moralez switch of play, a pacy first touch that let him fly up the left, a low shot inside the near post that beat the goalkeeper who you saw hesitate when he expected the ball to be passed to Talles Magno on the other side of the box.

It’s a moment worth savoring.

What to improve:

Gloster is one of the better passers in MLS when compared to other defenders, ranking in the 80th and 90th percentiles in key stats per FBRef. He’s also one of the worst defensive players in the league, ranking in the 1st percentile of Tackles, Shots Blocked, Successful Take-Ons, and Penalty Kicks conceded, to name a few. As they say in the Bronx, that’s no bueno.

It’s even less bueno if you consider that Amundsen is a solid defender whose contributions to the attacks are good if not great, and that O’Toole is a good defender who wins tackles, makes aggressive passes, and a creative dribbler who can hold off the opposition. At the start of the season, Gloster provided an attack-minded alternative to Amundsen, but O’Toole proved to be a more complete player than either of them. After Cushing promoted O’Toole the team posted six wins and one loss in the final seven games of the season, scoring 15 goals and allowing just six. Credit goes to the entire squad, but O’Toole made the most of his opportunity — and leaped over Gloster in the depth chart.

What to expect in 2023:

To be perfectly frank, Gloster’s time at NYCFC might be coming to an end. The 22-year-old isn’t on a preseason roster that includes players from NYCFC II and the NYCFC Academy, plus an unsigned MLS SuperDraft selection and a trialist. When the list was announced back on January 12 the cub said that Gloster wasn't traveling with the team “due to illness.” They haven't offered any new information since then.

The truth is that Gloster fell out of favor after Cushing took over in July last year. Out of Gloster’s 11 appearances in 2022, nine were courtesy of ex-head coach Ronny Deila, while only two took place on Cushing’s watch. The writing was on the wall.

If you keep in mind that Gloster’s guaranteed salary in 2022 was $238,000, you can see why the club might want to move him soon. Gloster made about the same as regular starter Nicolás Acevedo ($244,000), now on loan to Esporte Club Bahia, significantly more than starting right-back Tayvon Gray ($144,788), and over three times as much as O’Toole ($65,000). He even made more than the presumed starting goalkeeper Luis Barraza ($132,688). In other words, Gloster is paid the wages of a Senior Team player looking to make his mark in MLS, not an NYCFC II player developing in MLS NEXT pro.

Not only did Gloster fall behind O’Toole in the depth chart, NYCFC recently acquired the 26-year-old left-back Braian Cufré from LaLiga’s RCD Mallorca on a one-year loan with an option to buy. There are now four players competing for minutes at left-back, and it simply doesn’t make sense for NYCFC to carry that many salaries at a single position. Unfortunately for Gloster, that likely means we won't see him again wearing the sky-blue uniform of New York City.

2023 NYCFC Player Previews

• Tony Alfaro
• Malte Amundsen
• Luis Barraza
• Maxime Chanot
• Maximo Carrizo
• Braian Crufré
• Matt Freese
• Tayvon Gray
• Justin Haak
• Mitja Ilenič
• Kevin O’Toole
• Samuel “Kwaku” Owusu
• Keaton Parks
• Matías Pellegrini
• Gabriel Pereira
• Talles Magno
• Thiago
• Thiago Martins