After a very slow and lackluster transfer period for New York City Football Club, director of football operations Claudio Reyna has finally added some much-needed depth to the roster.
On January 19th, NYCFC announced the loan acquisition of U.S. national midfielder Keaton Parks from Portuguese club S.L. Benfica on a one year loan deal through the 2019 season. Also on January 22nd, City announced the re-signing of midfielder Ebenezer Ofori on a loan deal from German club VfB Stuttgart. Ofori had previously played for the boys in blue during the 2018 campaign on a previous agreement with Stuttgart.
The addition of Parks is a promising young player and adds depth and youth to a midfield that has lost that with the departure of Yangel Herrera who was returned back to Manchester and was promptly loaned out again to Spanish La Liga side, SD Huesca. Parks is described as a box to box midfielder that can stay home and help the back line defend, but also can provide some creative passing to spring the attacking players as well. The Plano, Texas native was playing for Benfica’s reserve team, Benfica B so far in the 2018-2019 campaign and only appeared in 13 matches for the club. This loan should be beneficial for all parties as Parks needs to play as much as possible for his development going forward and his skill and potential is very enticing and adds another layer to the NYCFC midfield. He has very good size and height, as well as being strong on the ball and very creative with his passing. With the stalwart defensive midfielder Alexander Ring behind him, Parks should be given a decent amount of free reign to push forward offensively. He has yet to play for the senior U.S. men’s national team, but has played for the under 20 squad and with good play at Yankee Stadium, Parks might attract the attention of the senior team.
Ebenezer Ofori is a very sound midfielder that definitely more of a defensive style player. For City last year, Ofori had only scored one goal in 28 appearances with the club. Most of those appearances were in lieu of Yangel Herrera’s ankle injury and he is clearly not the same type of player. However, as the season went on he became more and more cohesive with the team and provided solid two way play. A second season with a club he is used to and now familiar with should bring a much better season for a player who has shown promise at times. There is an option for NYCFC to buy Ofori at the end of the 2019 campaign, or he will be returned to Stuttgart. This situation is a win win for NYCFC simply because if he plays well they can easily keep him and if not they aren’t committed long term to him financially. But another player in the midfield is never a bad thing, competition in the squad should make everyone better and Ofori is versatile enough to step in multiple places in the middle of the park.
All in all these additions should help NYCFC return to the MLS Playoffs for the 4th consecutive season if both midfielders play to their potential. We will get a chance to see both players in action in the preseason which starts in early February, and hopefully they show us what they can do.
Featured Image: SBI Soccer