Jonathan Lewis was traded to Colorado Rapids on Wednesday, so we count down his five top moments with his ex-club New York City FC.
About two years and four months ago, the Chicago Fire traded their third overall MLS SuperDraft pick to New York City FC for $250,000 of general allocation money. NYCFC used their third pick to draft Akron Zips Freshman Player of the Year and 2017 MLS Combine MVP, Jonathan Lewis.
“To have a trade go down to come and get me that means the club showed interest in me,” Lewis said in an interview during the draft.
“Can’t wait to come to New York, can’t wait to put on the NYCFC jersey and can’t wait for New York City to become one of the best teams in the MLS.”
Sadly, playing for New York wasn’t quite what the 21-year-old expected. Although he showed sparks of what he can do—which even got him a call-up on the U.S. men’s national team—Lewis wasn’t getting enough playing time with NYCFC because his defense needed improvement and for lack of maturity.
The Florida native only started six MLS games for The Pigeons and came off the bench 26 times in a little over two seasons. He registered three league goals and five assists during his time in New York.
Lewis didn’t enjoy his role of “super-sub.”
“If it’s what’s best for the team, that’s what I want to do. But I don’t really like the term, nor do I really agree with it,” the winger told ESPN reporter Jeff Carlisle.
“I don’t think I would get better being a super-sub for the whole year.”
Lewis was traded to a struggling Colorado Rapids side on Wednesday, where he will certainly rack more minutes.
The speedster will be missed in New York, not only for his voluptuous way of dribbling the ball and beating his opponents but also for his goofiness off the pitch. Lewis once said in an interview on Overtime F.C. that he told a girl to google him to “show off” then busted a dance move after saying that.
Although his time at the Big Apple was short, Lewis has plenty of soccer memories from New York to entertain him at Colorado.
5. Lewis’s first and only full 90
The new Colorado man fought and fought to get his wish of playing a full professional game for New York as far as maturing his game and working on his defense. Unfortunately, it only happened once. That in itself was a small victory.
However, the Boys in Blue lost the match 4-0 to their rivals New York Red Bulls on June 7, 2018.
4. Game-winning assist vs. RBNY
Later on July 9, 2018, NYCFC had another game against the Red Bulls. Lewis came off the bench this time for 14 minutes. He was more productive. The 21-year-old notched the game-winning assist.
Lewis intercepted a pass on top of the box, made his way in the 18 before finding Maxi Moralez, who coolly shot the ball in the net in the 85th minute.
3. First goal vs. L.A. Galaxy
The midfielder netted his debut goal against L.A. Galaxy. It was in an away game at the StubHub Center. The game was tied 0-0. Lewis shook former U.S. international Jermaine Jones, dropping him on the turf then curled a shot in front of defender Daniel Steres.
The youngster’s shot clipped the crossbar before going in the net. It was the best goal he scored in an NYCFC jersey. Lewis was substituted 12 minutes after scoring.
2. His first career assist was to Villa
Lewis registered his first assist for NYCFC against Chicago Fire on July 22, 2017. The American dribbled down the right wing, cut back before hitting a perfect pass to David Villa on top of the box.
Villa one-timed Lewis’s pass to the bottom-left corner of the net to score the opener in the 47th minute
Not many young players can say their first assist was to Villa. Lewis celebrated by climbing on top of the Spaniard’s back. The winger was subbed out in the 72nd-minute.
1. Lewis’ winner vs. New England after coming off the bench
The former Akron standout once came into a game five minutes before time but granted NYCFC a victory against New England Revolution on Aug. 20, 2017.
Lewis scored with a power-shot from the top of the six-yard box in the 94th-minute. The ex-Bradford City player didn’t make the starting line-up the following match but came off the bench again.
His time in New York was a good learning experience but now it’s time for Lewis to become the starter he deserves to be elsewhere.
“I want to make this year a statement year, prove that I can play,” the starlet told Carlisle. “These last years I felt were good development years, but this is the year that I want to show what I could do and show that I can break out and become a good player.”
Lewis’s breakthrough wasn’t going to happen in New York, so it’s on to Colorado.