2020 Roster Discussion

Kjbert

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I would drop GMS, Taty, Gudi, Mata, Parks, Medina and Rocha in a heartbeat. For any of the guys on that list.

There are problems with the spine of this team.

It’s four seasons now without playoff success. We need some players on this team who have won an MLS cup. We need MLS experience.
can I dislike this post? Matarrita should be our player if the season. Parks was our best midfielder.
 

mgarbowski

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Subs were weird, but it felt like Ronny was just trying to get some fresh legs on the field in hopes they could unlock a tired 10-man Orlando. I'm not sure there was more to it than that. Ibeagha was weird, but let's be honest. There were maybe two subs you wanted to see in this game. That's just a reaction to the injuries to Heber/Sands, and Mitrita leaving. Our depth was severely tested. Pretty amazing how good we were in the second half of the year despite all the issues.
I actually don’t have big issues with Deila’s sub decisions in this game. The one maybe would be replacing Tinnerholm with Ibeagha instead of Scaly, but that decision was made not today but all season when Scally never got to play.
 
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ZYanksRule

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We lost that game because we didn’t have a difference maker Striker on the pitch. And no, I don’t think Heber, supporter by GMS and Medina, is that guy.
David Villa was. Henry was. Robbie Keane was. See what I’m getting at?
I am absolutely all for getting a major player for that role -- as long as its a guy who cares and wants to be here. A guy like what Nani is for Orlando, or obviously what Villa was for us.
 
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ZYanksRule

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I actually don’t have big issues with Deila’s sub decisions in this game. The one maybe would be replacing Tinnerholm with Ibeagha instead of Scaly, but that decision was made not today but all season when Scally never got to play.
Yeah I didn't have a big problem with it either -- as I said there were maybe two players you wanted to see in this game. ITS and Acevedo. The coach is, by definition, going to look worse when he has no options off the bench in a 120-minute game (140 minutes if you include all the injury time). We played a 140-minute game, which is why guys were dead on their feet. And the subs available were just not of a quality where they would help.

Being forced to lose Tinnerholm was a massive blow for those final 40 minutes.
 

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I think the front office had this year down as a transition year quite early on, maybe as soon as it realised we weren’t going to get GVB as the next head coach. Between Dome quitting, Reyna quitting and then eventually the coronavirus, the need for us to go ‘all in’ on the season was never obvious from day one.

We never did any of the big moves needed to build a true contender: Strengthening the team? We only signed three players, all of whom look surplus to requirements. Building around our DPs? We held the door open for Mitrita to leave mid-season. Developing young players? We played the usual suspects all year long.

There is an alternate universe where we DID make the hard moves this year. We spend serious money in the winter so our biggest signing isn’t fucking Gudi. We start the season with more than two strikers. We dig in on Mitri leaving, and replace him if we fail. We blood players like Scally and Acevedo so they can make a difference when the first choices get tired or injured. But....we just didn’t.

.....and you know what? I get that! If you’re going to half-ass any season, it may as well be 2020. I get the sense that David Lee probably felt overmatched even in February, so the temptation to play it safe must have been overwhelming by mid-March. In a year where MLS was seemingly making it up as they went along, and the virus was threatening to destroy the entire season, why risk making bold moves for the sake of a title with an asterisk next to it? Atlanta went for a hard reset, only for their best striker to tear his ACL and it all imploded. When Heber did the same, 2020 NYCFC just shrugged and carried on.

As ZYanksRule ZYanksRule pointed out, it just felt different this year. I’m sitting at home either way, so I’m not going to scream for people’s heads because I was denied the chance of watching a virtual ticker tape parade over Zoom. That goes for the players too. I imagine some of the newer arrivals to NYC (Gudi, GMS, even Deila) who were sold a dream of New York life will be quite reasonably questioning whether it’s time to give up on it, after a lonely year of extraordinary personal sacrifice off the pitch, and thankless mediocrity on it.

Next year is very different though. The DP slots are what everyone’s excited about, but to be honest we could muff both picks and still be a pretty good team. The potential to build a true juggernaut is there though, something we’ve arguably never had before. If we can nail it with those two signings, Yankee Stadium can be packed again by this time next year. Otherwise I fear NYCFC crowds will be Red Bulls-esque at best. It’s going to be an absolute dogfight for relevancy in a post-virus New York, and this year’s team just won’t cut it. The transition is almost over - it’s time to do something bold.
 

NYCFC_Dan

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The DP slots are what everyone’s excited about
Because of our calendar year it’s hard to get excited. Do we end up getting an older player that’s out of contract and hasn’t played in 6 months? Older player at the end of his career that comes on a free transfer? Younger player that we take a chance on for a smaller transfer fee? We’ve tried all 3 of those and still haven’t been successful with signing DP’s except for Villa and Maxi.
 

mgarbowski

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I think the front office had this year down as a transition year quite early on, maybe as soon as it realised we weren’t going to get GVB as the next head coach. Between Dome quitting, Reyna quitting and then eventually the coronavirus, the need for us to go ‘all in’ on the season was never obvious from day one.

We never did any of the big moves needed to build a true contender: Strengthening the team? We only signed three players, all of whom look surplus to requirements. Building around our DPs? We held the door open for Mitrita to leave mid-season. Developing young players? We played the usual suspects all year long.

There is an alternate universe where we DID make the hard moves this year. We spend serious money in the winter so our biggest signing isn’t fucking Gudi. We start the season with more than two strikers. We dig in on Mitri leaving, and replace him if we fail. We blood players like Scally and Acevedo so they can make a difference when the first choices get tired or injured. But....we just didn’t.

.....and you know what? I get that! If you’re going to half-ass any season, it may as well be 2020. I get the sense that David Lee probably felt overmatched even in February, so the temptation to play it safe must have been overwhelming by mid-March. In a year where MLS was seemingly making it up as they went along, and the virus was threatening to destroy the entire season, why risk making bold moves for the sake of a title with an asterisk next to it? Atlanta went for a hard reset, only for their best striker to tear his ACL and it all imploded. When Heber did the same, 2020 NYCFC just shrugged and carried on.
I agree, and admit that what I'm about to write is all based on hindsight that could not have been foreseen, but...

First, after a terrible start and 3 points from the first 6 games, NYCFC really did start playing significantly better, but this was masked for a time by poor conversion of scoring chances, even while at full strength. Yet for all the obstacles:
  • when Maxi missed 7 straight games, the team earned 1.57 PPG
  • after Heber was injured, the team earned 2.30 PPG
  • even after Mitrita left two games later, the team earned 2.00 PPG
With even one extra piece, especially a true striker to complement/backup Heber, this was a potential juggernaut of a team.

Second, every other team had weird crap to deal with this year. Toronto had a bunch of injuries, and after they stopped playing every game against Montreal or Vancouver, no home games; Atlanta's perennial MVP candidate missed the entire season and they fired their coach; Miami only started to click after getting their 3rd DP deep into the season and then 3 players got Covid just before their first historic playoff game; the Red Bulls were in 100% rebuild mode and also fired their coach, but things started to gel (6 losses in the first 12 games, 3 losses in the last 11) and with the right new 1-2 pieces could be a much bigger challenge in 2021. Next year the MLS East will not be any easier for NYCFC.

Third, NY sports has been pretty bad for a while but 2020 has been epically and singularly bad, and a run to MLS Cup -- even just making the finals -- after every other local team completely failed and while there is no theater, limited new TV content and no movie openings and the election season is behind us and we may be entering a new near-lockdown and a lonely dismal holiday season with limited to no travel -- NYCFC had a unique opportunity to get noticed in a way that I both hope and expect cannot happen again. I'm not saying NYCFC jumps into parity even with the local NHL teams (though maybe with Devils and Isles at least?), but this year certainly could have provided a bigger boost than your average year.

Like I said, this is based on a lot of things that could not have been predicted. But success rarely comes to those who devise reasons not to be bold.
 
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ZYanksRule

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Because of our calendar year it’s hard to get excited. Do we end up getting an older player that’s out of contract and hasn’t played in 6 months? Older player at the end of his career that comes on a free transfer? Younger player that we take a chance on for a smaller transfer fee? We’ve tried all 3 of those and still haven’t been successful with signing DP’s except for Villa and Maxi.
Or we can go the Mitrita route and spend $7 million on a transfer.

People are always complaining that we "never splash the cash" even though we've splashed the cash four times for DP's. Three of the four didn't work out, but we still spent large amounts of money on Villa, Lampard, Pirlo, and Mitrita. And Maxi makes $2M/year, which while not a massive yearly payout, is a large one considering he's now been here for four years.
 
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SoupInNYC

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Just because there are some decent depth options in MLS to fill some spots and we didn’t pursue them does not equal this team isn’t advancing in the playoffs because they don’t have enough MLS vets.

I would have loved for us to go after a Lee Nguyen, or Emma Boateng for some attacking depth, and sure maybe in this one game, one of those guys can make a difference. But let’s not pretend is because they are a MLS vet.
 

ZYanksRule

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I agree, and admit that what I'm about to write is all based on hindsight that could not have been foreseen, but...

First, after a terrible start and 3 points from the first 6 games, NYCFC really did start playing significantly better, but this was masked for a time by poor conversion of scoring chances, even while at full strength. Yet for all the obstacles:
  • when Maxi missed 7 straight games, the team earned 1.57 PPG
  • after Heber was injured, the team earned 2.30 PPG
  • even after Mitrita left two games later, the team earned 2.00 PPG
With even one extra piece, especially a true striker to complement/backup Heber, this was a potential juggernaut of a team.

Second, every other team had weird crap to deal with this year. Toronto had a bunch of injuries, and after they stopped playing every game against Montreal or Vancouver, no home games; Atlanta's perennial MVP candidate missed the entire season and they fired their coach; Miami only started to click after getting their 3rd DP deep into the season and then 3 players got Covid just before their first historic playoff game; the Red Bulls were in 100% rebuild mode and also fired their coach, but things started to gel (6 losses in the first 12 games, 3 losses in the last 11) and with the right new 1-2 pieces could be a much bigger challenge in 2021. Next year the MLS East will not be any easier for NYCFC.

Third, NY sports has been pretty bad for a while but 2020 has been epically and singularly bad, and a run to MLS Cup -- even just making the finals -- after every other local team completely failed and while there is no theater, limited new TV content and no movie openings and the election season is behind us and we may be entering a new near-lockdown and a lonely dismal holiday season with limited to no travel -- had a unique opportunity to get noticed in a way that I both hope and expect cannot happen again. I'm not saying NYCFC jumps into parity even with the local NHL teams (though maybe with Devils and Isles at least?), but this year certainly could have provided a bigger boost than your average year.

Like I said, this is based on a lot of things that could not have been predicted. But success rarely comes to those who devise reasons not to be bold.
Agree with this. Honestly I think our regular season was better than people are giving credit for. The team went 11-3-3 in their last 17 regular-season games. Only Philly was better over that span. And that's despite losing Heber and Mitrita, not having Sands or Maxi for large stretches, adapting to a new coach, and all the covid craziness. This was a damn good team that was far better than the seed they got in the playoffs. They dominated Orlando and should have won yesterday's game in blowout fashion had they not run into a ridiculous goalie on the other end.

I feel like people made up their minds on Deila after the 1-5-0 start, and never updated their minds after it started to work. First impressions being what they are, we never gave Deila a fair shake. But he had this team really humming despite missing three or four of their best players for the majority of the hot streak. I think Deila had a damn impressive season. We started 1-5-0, and this thing could have really snowballed on him. The fact he -- and the players -- turned it around is impressive. Yes, it turned after a team meeting, but the coach has to be willing to listen. Yes, some of Ronny's lineup changes (the end of Alex Wing) were enforced, but it still had to work.

Our playoff failures at this point are almost comical. This team is incapable of winning playoff games. Who knows why. Who knows what kind of roster turnover we will see. The spine of the team is signed to long-term contracts so it seems hard to imagine how much change there can be aside from the two DP signings we are all hoping for.

This team was one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference this regular season before, frankly, they were upset in Orlando. But after three years of this core collapsing in the playoffs, it would not upset me if there was some sort of a shake-up. This group has had enough kicks at the can to know that it's not working come playoff time.
 
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413Blue

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How many MLS Playoffs have Johnson, Chanot, Callens, Mata, Tinnerholm, Maxi, Ring, Medina, Parks, and Tati combined participated in?

I doubt many other, if any MLS teams have the playoff experience we do. We had zero players* in our starting lineup make their MLS Cup playoff debut. MLS experience is not what our roster lacks.


*I didn't feel like looking it up, but I'm pretty sure GMS made a substitute appearance last season. If not, then we have only 1 playoff debutant.
 
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ZYanksRule

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How many MLS Playoffs have Johnson, Chanot, Callens, Mata, Tinnerholm, Maxi, Ring, Medina, Parks, and Tati combined participated in?

I doubt many other, if any MLS teams have the playoff experience we do. We had zero players* in our starting lineup make their MLS Cup playoff debut. MLS experience is not what our roster lacks.


*I didn't feel like looking it up, but I'm pretty sure GMS made a substitute appearance last season. If not, then we have only 1 playoff debutant.
Coming into yesterday our roster had a combined 50 games of MLS postseason experience.

You're right that experience is not what we lack.
 
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Brooklyn Blue

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I would drop GMS, Taty, Gudi, Mata, Parks, Medina and Rocha in a heartbeat. For any of the guys on that list.

There are problems with the spine of this team.

It’s four seasons now without playoff success. We need some players on this team who have won an MLS cup. We need MLS experience.
Based on available information (https://www.sportekz.com/football/new-york-city-players-salaries/):

274,833 GMS
274,806 Castellanos
305,500 Gudi
165,000 Parks
750,000* Medina (*DP)
81,375 Rocha

And players listed as possible alternatives:

234,999 Harry Shipp (retired over the summer)
175,000 Aurelian Collin
1,380,550 Bradley Wright Phillips
175,269 Nick Deleon
617,500 Jorge Villafaña
530,000 Lee Nguyen
363,000* Matt Polster (*transfer fee + 100K allocation money to Fire)
674,988 Matt Besler
668,333 Graham Zusi
665,499 Darlington Nagbe

Mathematically, I am not sure how one could replace players on the team with those from the list. Beyond math, I am not sure how many players on the second list are actual improvements. Nagbe, BWP (Jersey bias aside) and Zusi seem the most likely options to have earned playing time with the current NYCFC roster this year. Nagbe would have been helpful during Maxi's injury spell, but is he 500K better than Parks? Zusi definitely would have been better than Gudi (who seems destined to join Nemec and Berget on the one and done list), but 300K additional salary may not have been workable.

There will be changes to the roster for 2021. Gudi, especially after that terrible penalty, should be replaced considering the salary. GMS is 50/50 - he improved, works hard and Ronny favors him despite the lack of obvious production at a midlevel salary. However, it is definitely the use of the DP slots that will tell the tale of the offseason. I'd prefer a striker (cannot count on Heber in 2021) and an attacking midfielder that can dabble as an 8, but I'd settle for two DP's at any positions that can actually contribute - at the same time - for the bulk of the season.
 
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ZYanksRule

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Based on available information (https://www.sportekz.com/football/new-york-city-players-salaries/):

274,833 GMS
274,806 Castellanos
305,500 Gudi
165,000 Parks
750,000* Medina (*DP)
81,375 Rocha

And players listed as possible alternatives:

234,999 Harry Shipp (retired over the summer)
175,000 Aurelian Collin
1,380,550 Bradley Wright Phillips
175,269 Nick Deleon
617,500 Jorge Villafaña
530,000 Lee Nguyen
363,000* Matt Polster (*transfer fee + 100K allocation money to Fire)
674,988 Matt Besler
668,333 Graham Zusi
665,499 Darlington Nagbe

Mathematically, I am not sure how one could replace players on the team with those from the list. Beyond math, I am not sure how many players on the second list are actual improvements. Nagbe, BWP (Jersey bias aside) and Zusi seem the most likely options to have earned playing time with the current NYCFC roster this year. Nagbe would have been helpful during Maxi's injury spell, but is he 500K better than Parks? Zusi definitely would have been better than Gudi (who seems destined to join Nemec and Berget on the one and done list), but 300K additional salary may not have been workable.

There will be changes to the roster for 2021. Gudi, especially after that terrible penalty, should be replaced considering the salary. GMS is 50/50 - he improved, works hard and Ronny favors him despite the lack of obvious production at a midlevel salary. However, it is definitely the use of the DP slots that will tell the tale of the offseason. I'd prefer a striker (cannot count on Heber in 2021) and an attacking midfielder that can dabble as an 8, but I'd settle for two DP's at any positions that can actually contribute - at the same time - for the bulk of the season.
DP's should be a striker, and a No. 10 who can also play as a winger. So basically, another Maxi. We have Maxi for what, one more season? At which point odds are he's probably done due to his age. So let's get his replacement on the roster and contributing so he can take up the No. 10 role full-time in 2022. Also having another DP in that role would be good so Maxi doesn't have to play every single game, especially after his injury-plagued 2020.
 

adam

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I agree, and admit that what I'm about to write is all based on hindsight that could not have been foreseen, but...

First, after a terrible start and 3 points from the first 6 games, NYCFC really did start playing significantly better, but this was masked for a time by poor conversion of scoring chances, even while at full strength. Yet for all the obstacles:
  • when Maxi missed 7 straight games, the team earned 1.57 PPG
  • after Heber was injured, the team earned 2.30 PPG
  • even after Mitrita left two games later, the team earned 2.00 PPG
With even one extra piece, especially a true striker to complement/backup Heber, this was a potential juggernaut of a team.

Second, every other team had weird crap to deal with this year. Toronto had a bunch of injuries, and after they stopped playing every game against Montreal or Vancouver, no home games; Atlanta's perennial MVP candidate missed the entire season and they fired their coach; Miami only started to click after getting their 3rd DP deep into the season and then 3 players got Covid just before their first historic playoff game; the Red Bulls were in 100% rebuild mode and also fired their coach, but things started to gel (6 losses in the first 12 games, 3 losses in the last 11) and with the right new 1-2 pieces could be a much bigger challenge in 2021. Next year the MLS East will not be any easier for NYCFC.

Third, NY sports has been pretty bad for a while but 2020 has been epically and singularly bad, and a run to MLS Cup -- even just making the finals -- after every other local team completely failed and while there is no theater, limited new TV content and no movie openings and the election season is behind us and we may be entering a new near-lockdown and a lonely dismal holiday season with limited to no travel -- had a unique opportunity to get noticed in a way that I both hope and expect cannot happen again. I'm not saying NYCFC jumps into parity even with the local NHL teams (though maybe with Devils and Isles at least?), but this year certainly could have provided a bigger boost than your average year.

Like I said, this is based on a lot of things that could not have been predicted. But success rarely comes to those who devise reasons not to be bold.
i think you’re forgetting the NEW YORK ISLANDERS!!!!!!!


 
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adam

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Based on available information (https://www.sportekz.com/football/new-york-city-players-salaries/):

274,833 GMS
274,806 Castellanos
305,500 Gudi
165,000 Parks
750,000* Medina (*DP)
81,375 Rocha

And players listed as possible alternatives:

234,999 Harry Shipp (retired over the summer)
175,000 Aurelian Collin
1,380,550 Bradley Wright Phillips
175,269 Nick Deleon
617,500 Jorge Villafaña
530,000 Lee Nguyen
363,000* Matt Polster (*transfer fee + 100K allocation money to Fire)
674,988 Matt Besler
668,333 Graham Zusi
665,499 Darlington Nagbe

Mathematically, I am not sure how one could replace players on the team with those from the list. Beyond math, I am not sure how many players on the second list are actual improvements. Nagbe, BWP (Jersey bias aside) and Zusi seem the most likely options to have earned playing time with the current NYCFC roster this year. Nagbe would have been helpful during Maxi's injury spell, but is he 500K better than Parks? Zusi definitely would have been better than Gudi (who seems destined to join Nemec and Berget on the one and done list), but 300K additional salary may not have been workable.

There will be changes to the roster for 2021. Gudi, especially after that terrible penalty, should be replaced considering the salary. GMS is 50/50 - he improved, works hard and Ronny favors him despite the lack of obvious production at a midlevel salary. However, it is definitely the use of the DP slots that will tell the tale of the offseason. I'd prefer a striker (cannot count on Heber in 2021) and an attacking midfielder that can dabble as an 8, but I'd settle for two DP's at any positions that can actually contribute - at the same time - for the bulk of the season.
Medina is a YDP. $200k. Not $750k vs cap.
 
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ManhattanValley

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Because of our calendar year it’s hard to get excited. Do we end up getting an older player that’s out of contract and hasn’t played in 6 months? Older player at the end of his career that comes on a free transfer? Younger player that we take a chance on for a smaller transfer fee? We’ve tried all 3 of those and still haven’t been successful with signing DP’s except for Villa and Maxi.
Obviously we have no idea what the virus/vaccine will do in the next few months but I would not be surprised at all if it’s a lot harder to tempt European players to the US.

Third, NY sports has been pretty bad for a while but 2020 has been epically and singularly bad, and a run to MLS Cup -- even just making the finals -- after every other local team completely failed and while there is no theater, limited new TV content and no movie openings and the election season is behind us and we may be entering a new near-lockdown and a lonely dismal holiday season with limited to no travel -- had a unique opportunity to get noticed in a way that I both hope and expect cannot happen again. I'm not saying NYCFC jumps into parity even with the local NHL teams (though maybe with Devils and Isles at least?), but this year certainly could have provided a bigger boost than your average year.
Agree with most of your post except this bit. The Orlando tournament was literally the only game in town back in March and no-one cared. Our ratings have been consistently terrible. There’s no way the local sports media pays attention to a lengthy 2020 playoff run instead of, say, NBA free agency or the Jets losing again. And I think that’s ok! It’ll probably be that way for many years to come. But I just think even the limited niche we’ve carved out for ourselves since 2014 is at risk now, given how many people have left the city and how detached most fans currently are from the club.
 
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mgarbowski

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Our playoff failures at this point are almost comical. This team is incapable of winning playoff games. Who knows why.
I'm not really answering your question of why we lose, but this did prompt me to think about the related question many of us have of why NYC seems to fall prey to so many individual bizarre or bonehead plays at key moments. Part of the reason is that we don't score goals, and so are positioned to lose when one bad thing happens.
Our playoff matchups:

2016 Toronto 180 minutes 0 goals LOSE
2017 Columbus 180 minutes 3 goals LOSE
2018 Philadelphia 90 minutes 3 goals WIN
2018 Atlanta 180 minutes 1 goal LOSE
2019 Toronto 90 minutes 1 goal LOSE
2020 Orlando 120 minutes 1 goal LOSE

For individual game units the line is
0, 0, 1, 2, 3, 0, 1, 1, 1

Because of the extra 30 minutes against Orlando, the average goals per 90 is <1.

I realize this doesn't answer the real question of why the team fails to score or why, when games are close, the freak events happen to us and not them. But lots of little weird things happen in games where you win or lose anyway by 2 or more goals and nobody cares and nobody remembers.
OTOH, when you score more than 1 goal only twice in 9 games, you have no leeway to do something dumb or suffer a bad call and have it not matter, and everyone remembers the Callens red, the Villa interference call, the 2 defensive brain locks at Citi Field, and the handball plus super bizarre spot kick session yesterday. But yesterday, for example, if we score one damn goal in open play we win.

PS: David Villa played in 7 of those 9 games, for the reminder I cannot resist that as great as he was in season play for us he never came up big and carried the team in knockout tournaments.