CLUB: New York City FC
YEARS PRO: 2
New York City FC have taken a major step forward in Year 3, and Jack Harrison's play has been a major reason why. Although David Villa continues to spearhead NYCFC's attack with another memorable goal-scoring season, Harrison has been an exceptional secondary threat on the right wing as a scorer or provider.
That's earned him a place as an every-game starter in that position for coach Patrick Vieira, and it's also sparked rumors about a high-profile move back to his native England for the Bolton native. Whether that develops or not, he figures to be an important part of his side's bid to improve on last year's Eastern Conference semifinal appearance in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.
What the technical staffers say:
"For me he’s a huge talent and what makes him so dangerous is coming inside from the right onto his left foot … he faces defenders up, he wants to go 1v1 against outside backs and we don’t see a ton of that in this league … rarely do you see [MLS wingers] taking defenders on and creating imbalances, and that opens up room for the rest of the NYCFC attack … has huge upside … playing with Villa he’s only going to get better … you can’t let him have space to run at you – your fullbacks have to close down quickly to prevent him from gaining speed … clearly favors his left, we try to push him right … quality player, have seen him express himself against some of the best fullbacks in the league … can beat athletic, intelligent, experienced fullbacks … left foot cutting inside is one of the best in MLS … have to respect him, your midfielders have to come across and help his defender when he cuts inside … has physical power, too – can dribble or muscle past a fullback or center back … not scared to go endline and cross with his right, makes him difficult to defend … very impressive for a young player … when NYCFC has to defend for a stretch of 10-15 minutes, you lose his quality offensively and [opponents] can test his positional defending – blocking passing angles, pressing, recognizing that it’s a moment to defend. Has some work to do there."