Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Next Ones (East)

Today, we tackle the rest of the playoff teams from the Eastern Conference, where two of them boast impressive window activity and the other two really need to get to work. Tomorrow, we head West.

NEW YORK CITY FC

Thus far: For as good as their winter haul has been so far, it has kinda flown under the radar. Even if Jack Harrison goes home, the training competition will be fierce to see who gets to surround David Villa in attack. They wanted to upgrade the right back position, so they bagged two starting-caliber guys in Saad Abdul-Salaam and Anton Tinnerholm. The latter can provide some set-ups if pushed into Harrison's spot. Then there's new DP Jesus Medina (a speedy handful who loves to run the break) and a somewhat similar-style player in Ismael Tajouri (could be a surprise with his wheels) for up the wing. Nice strike depth signing Jo Inge Berget (an all-purpose forward with attitude) can also play out wide. They'd like to think that Cédric Hountondji gives them three center backs who can defend on the run and turn the ball back up the field safely. It all looks like really good stuff to add before preseason, folks.

The biggest hole: Until James Sands proves ready to contribute, they need a little more back-up in the CB/DM region.

NEW YORK RED BULLS

Thus far: Well, the quarterback is gone, and they are supposedly going to nab another in the line of young South American studs coming to MLS to fill the void. The guys who came in exchange for Sacha Kljestan, young center back Tommy Redding and enigmatic attacker Carlos Rivas, carry question marks with promise.

The biggest hole: Several wide players are also gone from last season. When do they start replacing them, especially on the back line? At least time is running out for left back Kemar Lawrence to move, but I feel like the squad sorely needs a new veteran presence that's also good enough to be a regular.

ATLANTA

Thus far: Start with wonderboy playmaker Ezequiel Barco and back that with a Darlington Nagbe kicker. Yeah, enjoy all that plugging into an already fearsome attack. While you're at it, watch out for young left back José Hernández; his gib looks salon-cut.

The biggest hole: Like quite a few teams in the league, the Five Stripes are a starting right back away from feeling pretty damn good about themselves. Might as well go ahead and throw another right-side of some sort on the shopping list.

UPDATE: Now that it seems Carlos Carmona is exiting stage left, they'll want a new starting destroyer to join up.

CHICAGO

Thus far: David Accam has moved on, but hey, Bastian Schweinsteiger is back. And we'll just see if one or two of SuperDraft picks forward Jon Bakero and midfielder Mo Adams, or Homegrown center back Grant Lillard, can pitch in a bit this season.

The biggest hole: Giving it to ya straight, I hope they aren't near being done yet. They originally craved a #10, and now a strong new wing contributor is required. The Fire also badly need a trustworthy center back of some experience and reliable back-ups in defensive/central midfield.




- Greg Seltzer

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