Nov 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo (21) in action during the second half against the Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium. Toronto FC won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Midfield

NYCFC’s midfield was not a strength nor was it a weakness in 2016. It just was, well blah.

Besides the often inspired play of its elder statesman and team assist leader Andrea Pirlo, there wasn’t much consistency in the middle of the pitch. City midfield struggled to find a rhythm in any of Coach Vieira’s formations and never really established an identity.

Coach Vieira will look to remedy those ills by deploying an almost entirely new midfield in 2017. Oft injured Federico Bravo, defensive midfielder Andoni Iraola and Stiven Mendoza will not be returning. In their place are a slew of offseason signings who we expect will compete throughout the season for minutes.

In mid-February, City brought in their third designated player, midfielder Maxi Moralez. Moralez comes to New York from the Mexican Series A league with a ton of expectations. An offensive minded, left-footed playmaker, Moralez will immediately be plugged in to the NYCFC starting XI. What spot he’ll fill in that XI is still anyone’s guess since Coach Vieira has not yet made public whether he’s start the season in a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 formation.

Panamanian National Team midfielder Miguel Camargo is also new to the club. Here on loan from Chorrillo Futbol Club in Panama, Camargo brings even more offensive promise to the City midfield.

At a recent press conference, Coach Patrick Vieira said, “Miguel brings a versatility and tactical intelligence which will give us a number of options in his area of the field going into next season. I’m looking forward to working with him in the new year on our training camp.”

Camargo has chosen to wear number 99 for the Bronx Blues. To soccer fans, and hockey fans for that matter, the double nines come with scoring expectations. Camargo may slot in as an attacking midfielder or up top as wing partner to David Villa.

Finish National Team player Alexander Ring has left the German league to run for NYCFC in 2017. He will be another exciting midfield prospect for Coach Vieira to utilize in 2017. The 25-year-old midfielder will, according to Vieira, “contribute on both sides of the game,” and is, “a great option either at base of midfield or box to box.”

Manchester City has loaned midfielder Yangel Herrera to City for the 2017 season. The captain of Venezuela’s U-20 team, Herrera will look to improve his craft by learning from new teammate and midfield legend Pirlo while also being coached from all time great midfielder Vieira.

Finally, preseason superstar John Stertzer will hope to carry some of his early goal scoring results in to the regular season and should compete for time this season.