NYCFC’s Ronny Deila: ‘We Need to Add More Quality’

Ronny Deila, Head Coach of New York City. - (Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images)
Ronny Deila, Head Coach of New York City. - (Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images) /

Ronny Deila is optimistic that New York City FC can and will add players before the start of the MLS season. The NYCFC head coach says this, while acknowledging the difficulty of making transfers given the circumstances around this offseason.

NYCFC finished a disappointing fifth in the Eastern Conference last season and seventh in the league table, continuing a playoff streak that goes back to 2016 but falling a bit short of lofty expectations. This offseason has been slow for NYCFC and while the roster is relatively strong, there are still some holes that need to be filled if the club is going to compete for the Supporters Shield and MLS Cup.

Deila noted that the squad is young and lacking depth. He said that the team will likely target left-sided players and at striker with the MLS season a month away.

“It’s been a very, very tough year when it comes to signings and getting things done. But we want to sign players, of course. We feel we need to add more quality to the team, depth as well,” Deila said this week in a conference call with the media.

“We are working really hard, everybody, to get everything done.

“But again, it is very hard to get them into the country with getting visas and all those things. Hopefully they will be arriving before the season starts.

The club has been linked to some promising players such as young Ecuadorean attacker Joao Rojas, a 23-year old central midfielder currently with Emelec. But there are needs up top for NYCFC who need to add a starting quality striker, especially with the return of Heber a bit in flux.

Deila said that Heber’s progressing and could be available by June or July “or maybe worst case August.” The forward is currently in Brazil continuing his rehab following an ACL tear in September.

As for targeting more players, Deila is optimistic that the club can bring in a couple more players before the start of the season on April 17 at DC United.

“Also because of the economy situation, clubs don’t get players in and they don’t want to lose the players they have because they don’t know how to get others in to make the team as they have. It’s difficult,” Deila said.

“I think we are getting closer and closer. I think you will see some signings before the season starts. There could be a couple in the summer, maybe, but we don’t know yet. I hope we get as many as possible now before the season starts.”

The club’s home opener is on April 24 against FC Cincinnati.