Though this is a website dedicated to Manchester City, it never hurts to show some City Football Group solidarity and support for our friends on the other side of the pond. So starting today, Bitter and Blue will provide weekly updates on the happenings on Manchester City’s sister club, New York City FC.
Some of you may not have very much interest in this, but City has already shown a willingness to loan young players to NYCFC for us to keep track of and are managed by former Manchester City player and EDS coach Patrick Vieira.
NYCFC currently have only one Manchester City loanee in 19-year old Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera, who is already making quite the impact. City signed the talented youngster from Atlético Venezuela last January for £1.7 million before immediately loaning him to New York City.
Yangel’s ability showed early on during his time in MLS and he has become a fixture in the starting lineup. Herrera also made a mark on the international scene recently as well, captaining Venezuela to the final of the U-20 World Cup. Venezuela lost to England in the final, but Herrera was awarded the Bronze Ball as the third most outstanding player in the tournament.
At only 19, it is difficult to say if Herrera will ever be good enough to play in Manchester but he shows a tremendous amount of promise. Even if Herrera never contributes to City’s first team, he will certainly be sold for a profit and represents another smart piece of business by management. He plays with a physicality and intelligence rare for his age and has thrived in the rapidly improving MLS. Herrera has shown the ability to play as a defensive or box-to-box midfielder and absolutely has a future in Europe.
The young Venezuelan did not feature in NYCFC’s game against the New York Red Bulls this past Friday due to a suspension for yellow card accumulation. NYCFC managed to do well without him however, earning a 1-1 draw on the road against their fiercest rival. New York City has a strong hold on the number 2 spot in the Eastern Conference standings, a position that would earn them a first-round bye in the MLS Playoffs.
NYCFC forward David Villa, last season’s league MVP, has been recalled into the Spanish national team for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein. This call-up is certainly well deserved for Villa, as he is already one of the best players in the history of the league and has yet to show any signs of slowing down. David Villa, the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Spanish national team, is currently leading MLS with 19 goals across 25 matches this season.
Furthermore, this decision by Spain’s coach Julen Lopetegui is a boon for the league, which has developed a reputation for inhibiting international opportunities for European players. This was made most famous when manager Giampiero Ventura publicly stated that Sebastian Giovinco was left off of Italy’s roster last year because he played in MLS, a league that “doesn’t matter much”. Thus Villa’s inclusion in the Spain squad lends hope to European players considering a move to the United States.
Villa will likely miss NYCFC’s next match against Sporting Kansas City on September 6th due to international duty. Most New York City fans are rightfully nervous to see their team play without their captain and talisman against a strong SKC team, but thrilled for him to receive this opportunity nonetheless.