New York City FC has been one of the best teams in the league in the 2017 season but New York City FC has been one of the best teams in the league in the 2017 season but designated player Andrea Pirlo hasn’t been a reason why.
The Italian midfielder has seen better days in the league and with his contract ending after the season, perhaps NYCFC should not to bring him back for another season.
The former Juventus midfielder started virtually every regular season game for NYCFC last season and helped them finish in second in the Eastern Conference.
This season, Pirlo has not featured in roughly half of the club’s games and has only mustered two assists in 15 league appearances.
Without Pirlo as a regular starter NYCFC is on track to finish in second in the Eastern Conference again, and may even surpass their points total from the 2016 season. The Italian’s absence from the first team has had no negative impact on the team’s performance.
The team has prospered without Pirlo playing a prominent role and they could get the same if not a greater impact from a younger and cheaper bench player next year.
NYCFC does not need Pirlo due to other midfielders being able to contribute more than the Italian this season.
Ever since coming to the team Manchester City loanee Yangel Herrera and newcomer Alexander Ring have performed well in central midfield positions where Pirlo could have started in.
In 14 league games played Herrera has one goal and two assists while playing in a defensive midfielder position. On his part, Ring has provided solid defensive and offensive work in 25 MLS appearances, and has higher work rates than the former AC Milan player.
The performance of other midfielders such as Maxi Moralez, who has 5 goals and 7 assists, and Tommy McNamara have also made Pirlo a non-factor in regards to the teams success this season.
With homegrown academy defensive midfielder James Sands making his debut recently, Pirlo is even likely to be playing a sufficient role in the team.
Not in a position to thrive in the future
Athleticism is not Pirlo’s strong suit and in a league where speed and physicality are as important if not more important than technique his continued low levels of both does him no favors.
With MLS players becoming stronger, faster, and more technical each year Pirlo’s high technical skills are no longer enough to compensate for his at times low defensive work rate and slow play.
Additionally, the league is currently in an era where teams are choosing younger players in their prime as their designated players.
NYCFC could certainly use a younger marquee signing who may be able to produce years of quality play rather than re-sign Pirlo, who’s on the decline and virtually has no impact on the team.
The wages NYCFC can save by not bringing back Pirlo can go a long way towards benefiting the club for years. Pirlo is not in position nor has the right playing style to thrive in the league in the coming years.
End of Pirlo’s NYCFC career is imminent
In the past few months rumors of Pirlo retiring have been circulating and perhaps that would be the best move for the Italian.
Pirlo’s season and waning form takes nothing away from his legendary play in his prime and later with Juventus, it is simply time for the World Cup winner to hang up the boots if not move to a league where he could still have some sort of impact.
Even if he doesn’t call it a career, NYCFC should put an end to his MLS career by not bringing him back. The club is ready to move on and seems to be in the process of doing so.
Written by Frank Lara-Risco
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLaraRisco
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