In the News: #WelcomeHéber and Life Before the International Break

In the News 3-21

The international break is upon us, which calls for a slow week... right? Nope, not for NYCFC as we welcomed Héber Araujo dos Santos, a striker from Croatian team HNK Rijeka. 

As the news of the Brazilian's allocation broke, publications from far and wide let us know their thoughts on the move by the club

Prior to the announcement of the acquisition, the rumor mill was turning and The New York Post published an article this week about how the striker could be the force on the front line that the Club was looking for. 

Post reporter, Kyle Schnitzer wrote: "Coach Domenec Torrent has said for over a month that NYCFC was trying to add a natural scorer, specifically targeting a No. 9 option." 

"Heber, 27, has experience in the Europa League and Champions League qualifying with Rijeka, where he was the team’s leading scorer the last two seasons in Croatia’s top league."

"He’s an athletic goal-scorer with the ability to play on the left wing."

WATCH: #WelcomeHéber | The First Interview

Héber's arrival strengthens the roster and may even result in a formation shift in Torrent's game plan. According to MLS Soccer's Bobby Warshaw: "What to do with Alex Ring? Ring is one of the best defensive midfielders in the league. He’s potentially so good at defensive midfield that his presence alone could get a team into the playoffs, like Diego Chara or Ozzie Alonso."

"But he’s also NYCFC’s best box-to-box midfielder. Dome Torrent’s preferred system values an elite box-to-box midfielder. As a result, Ring has been playing higher on the field this year." 

Speaking of additions to the roster, James Sands has earned a spot in Torrent's starting XI, the homegrown started in the first three games of the season for the Boys in Blue. His aggressive style in the midfield and ability to make key tackles shined through in his performances thus far. 

Calvin Daniel, of the Hudson River Blue, says: "But despite what appears to be a crowded midfield for City, Sands has risen above the pack to become a starter for Domè. And two games in, I would say it seems like the right choice." 

"His poise on the ball, his clean passing, and smart defensive reads have really stood out to the point he has been arguably the best outfield player for City overall through both games." 

"There is no one right way to build a championship squad, and there’s no one right way to develop a young player on your roster. In Sands, City may have found a formula they think can work for their academy players."

NYCFC came into the season with one of the youngest rosters in the league, which remains unchanged with the signing of Héber. Earlier this week, the Athletic's Kristian Dyer reported: "With a much younger roster, NYCFC displays increased versatility in 2019."

"This is a team that was built, by design, to specifically be younger and thereby more athletic. It showed the last two weeks in two draws that displayed the team’s ability to adjust tactically in a way that they may not have been able to in seasons past."

"Now because the team has gotten younger, as evidenced by the offseason signing of 24-year old Romanian international Alexandru Mitriță, this team has gotten more athletic and faster up top."

READ: #WelcomeAlexandru | NYCFC Sign Romanian International Alexandru Mitriță

"The ability to run at teams and press is a new club in Torrent’s bag. NYCFC’s identity since their expansion year in 2015 has been to build out of the back. Now they can do this while also being able to adjust in-game tactically."

Mitriță's speed and athleticism was on display as the team faced LAFC at home before the international break, where the Romanian scored his first goal for his new Club.

Pro Soccer USA's, Dylan Butler said: "Every goal for Alexandru Mitrita is important, but there’s something special about your first."

"What should be welcome news to NYCFC fans is that Mitrita isn’t yet fully fit. NYCFC coach Dome Torrent said he’s at about “80 percent.”

WATCH: Field Level Highlights: NYCFC 2-2 LAFC

We'll be back with more after the international break, as the squad prepares to head to Toronto on March 29. Stay tuned and let's get it #ForTheCity! 

In the News: #WelcomeHéber and Life Before the International Break -
For the City - Stories

Join us on our mission to empower NYC youth through soccer.