Consider the MLS Expansion Draft the first win for New York City FC.
“We came out with almost every player we were after in this expansion draft,” New York City FC coach Jason Kreis said on a conference call with reporters following the draft. “We’re extremely pleased with the work we did and the result we got today.”
The goal was three-fold for NYCFC officials – to select veterans with MLS experience, fill positional needs and pick up some young players with potential.
All three hopes were fulfilled for NYCFC, which expanded their roster to 19 players.
“We feel good coming out of today’s expansion draft,” NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said. “We got more positions covered with the addition of all the players, experience from within the league, which is always important for us and young players with a lot of potential. We’re happy with where we are.”
There’s also a lot of familiarity for Kreis, who is reunited with veterans Ned Grabavoy and Chris Wingert from Real Salt Lake. It is a bit of a homecoming for Wingert, who played college soccer at St. John’s University and hails from Long Island.
“They are important pieces for us,” Kreis said. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to add them both. We consider those guys to have real leadership and a firm understanding of how to build teams, how to play and what we’re about.”
“We’re very happy with both players who fill positional needs up front and are a little different as well,” Reyna said. “Patrick is more of a target forward, he has more height and Tony is more versatile and someone who can play underneath. He’s adapted well to MLS and we believe he’ll be a good player.”
NYCFC also took two midfielders who competed in Canada last year – ex-Whitecap Mehdi Ballouchy, who is coming off two knee surgeries, and Daniel Lovitz from Toronto FC, who was then sent back to Toronto in exchange for allocation money.
Ballouchy and Kreis go all the way back to 2006, when the pair were teammates at RSL. Kreis actually traded Ballouchy away after becoming RSL head coach in 2007, sending him to Colorado in exchange for Kyle Beckerman.
NYCFC also selected veteran defender and New York native Jason Hernandez (San Jose), defender George John (FC Dallas), midfielder Sal Zizzo (Sporting Kansas City) and midfielder Thomas McNamara, another New York native who went to D.C. United in the MLS dispersal draft last month.
“It was important for us to build our roster,” Reyna said. “After that, of course, we will continue to fill in spots in all parts of the field. We’re happy about today and we’re going to continue adding players in next weeks and months.”