Alfredo Morales signed with New York City FC on Wednesday, an impressive addition to a roster that continues to evolve ahead of the MLS season.
A United States international, the long-rumored signing of Morales by New York City FC adds some bite and experience to a midfield that, at times last year, struggled to keep its shape. He brings a wealth of experience from Germany’s top two flites, helping to add some needed experience and bite to the midfield.
And, set to turn 31-years old this May, the switch from Germany to MLS represents a chance for Morales to make a final run at the United States national team and a possible World Cup roster next summer.
There is a potential place with the national team for Morales ahead of a busy fall of World Cup qualifying and, let’s call it like it is, a possible berth in next year’s World Cup. While the midfield situation is crowded for the United States in the center of the park, depth will be tested for the United States and Morales can figure prominently in the system.
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Playing time, at a high level, is a positive for Morales and New York City FC affords the tenacious and pugnacious midfielder just that. He hasn’t played for the United States since 2019 in the CONCACAF Nations League. If he wants to stake a claim for Gregg Baerhalter’s squad, some impressive displays in MLS could certainly go a long way.
Morales is a ball-winner who can also shuttle and play an important role in the build-up for New York City FC. He is a good distributor of the ball with touch and vision to switch fields and maintain possession.
It is an ambitious signing for the club, signaling a desire to build on the success of the last three seasons and take another step towards being an MLS Cup contender. There are some good pieces here for NYCFC, even as there is still a glaring need up top for the club.
Bringing in a player like Morales, who has competed at a high level and brings international experience, is helpful for the overall direction of the team on the field. He not only adds to the club’s spine but also its character.
This offseason, NYCFC jettisoned former captain Alexander Ring to Austin FC and sent left back Ronald Mataritta to FC Cincinnati. Both players, long-tenured and with strong international experience, lent some seniority to a locker room that has seen some significant roster changes the past 18 months and has gotten progressively younger.
Morales brings bite on the field but also his experience will be valuable for the cohesion of the roster ahead of a busy campaign for New York City FC this year.
It would be significant, for sure, if Morales can turn solid performances with his club into an international call-up to this summer’s Gold Cup and potentially World Cup qualifying. It’d certainly send a message to the talent pool of Americans in Europe that MLS, at a time when more Americans are playing in top leagues overseas, remains a viable option for national team notice.