New York City FC's Mix Diskerud hopeful switch to center of park pays off

NEW YORK – There was a lot to process for Mix Diskerud when his first Major League Soccer season ended. 

Where the US national team midfielder was positioned on the field under former New York City FC head coach Jason Kreis might have been the biggest factor to the disappointing campaign.

“I learned that I want to play central midfield and not on the wing,” Diskerud said, referring to his biggest lesson from year one at NYCFC at the club’s annual media day Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

Diskerud isn’t alone with that sentiment.

“For me, he’s good at No. 10 or No. 8 because he has a good shot to target, he can score arriving in the box on the second line and he’s good with the last pass,” NYCFC captain David Villa said. “I am sure this year will be better for him.”

Diskerud scored the first goal in NYCFC history on a set piece in a 1-1 draw against Orlando City SC a year ago. He only scored twice more and had one assist in 27 appearances, including 23 starts.

Diskerud said he played the part of good soldier last year under Kreis, but his performance suffered for it.

“For me personally, I want to play more in the center of the field because that’s where I know I can contribute the most,” Diskerud said. “Playing out wide and being the runner, dribbling and crossing, that’s not what I’m best at.”

Diskerud wasn’t the only one to have a disappointing debut season with NYCFC.

“I think it’s not just him who underachieved last year,” new NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said. “I think the majority of the players or all the players underachieved.”

Year two has certainly started on a positive note for Diskerud. Playing behind the three forwards, Diskerud helped set up Khiry Shelton for a goal and scored one himself in a wild 4-3 win over the Chicago Fire in the regular-season opener Sunday.

“I believe that the way we to play really suits Mix’s strength, and he showed it in the first game,” Vieira said. “I think he was fantastic. I still believe that he can do more, much more than what he is doing in the moment, but in the first game I believe he played at a very good level.”