Transfer Tracker

NYCFC land goalkeeper Matt Freese in trade with Philadelphia Union

TRANSFER_Matt Freese


  • NYC receive: Matt Freese
  • PHI receive: Up to $750k GAM, sell-on fee

New York City FC have acquired a possible starting goalkeeper for the 2023 MLS season, announcing Friday they’ve landed Matt Freese in a trade with Eastern Conference rival Philadelphia Union.

Freese, a 24-year-old former US youth international, was acquired for a guaranteed $350,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). The Union will receive a percentage of a future transfer fee and could get an additional $400k in conditional GAM.

The move went official shortly after longtime NYCFC starting goalkeeper and captain Sean Johnson signed with Toronto FC in free agency. Meanwhile, Freese gets a chance at more playing time after playing backup to Andre Blake, the only three-time Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in league history.

"We are delighted to have been able to finalize this acquisition and would like to welcome Matt to New York," NYCFC sporting director David Lee said in a release.

"He is an extremely talented American goalkeeper who is coming into the best years of his career. He is an excellent shot-stopper, and we believe is ready to take the next step in his career and we are excited to see his continued development at NYCFC."

Freese joined Philadelphia as a homegrown signing ahead of the 2019 campaign after playing NCAA soccer at Harvard University. He’s played in 13 regular-season games, plus was thrust into the starter’s role during the 2021 Eastern Conference Final that a shorthanded Philadelphia side lost to NYCFC.

"We want to thank Matt for his hard work and contributions on and off the field with the Philadelphia Union," Philadelphia sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a release. "As a homegrown player, we are proud of what Matt has become and feel this is the best move for the player at this time in order for him to be able to continue to grow and have a chance to earn a starting position.

"As great of a player as he is, he is an even better young man with a bright future ahead. We wish him all the best in this next chapter."

Freese joins a domestic-only goalkeeper group at NYCFC, with Luis Barraza and Cody Mizell their other options between the sticks. At Philadelphia, MLS veteran Joe Bendik presumably slides into the backup role behind Blake.

The Union and the Cityzens have been among MLS’s top teams in recent years. The former finished second in both the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield races in 2022, while the latter won MLS Cup in 2021.