NEW YORK — While New York City FC coach Dome Torrent has manipulated his attacking personnel during the initial stages of the season, one player is distinct. Whether contributing on the flank or centrally, the designated player Alexandru Mitriță is a clear regular.
The Romanian transfer exposed his dynamic attacking movements while providing a clever assist on an Alex Ring goal in the regular-season opener. But Ring warns that Mitriță needs time to adjust to his environment.
“You shouldn’t expect wonders from him in the first few games,” the NYCFC captain Ring told Pro Soccer USA. “He’s a really nice guy – calm, shy maybe like I was when I came. It’s going to take time for us to get to know him and him to get to know us. I think we can know better maybe in June and July when he’s had some games under his belt.”
Mitriță joined City from a top-tier team in his homeland, Craiova, acquiring the third DP spot vacated by David Villa. After the scoreless draw with D.C. United on Sunday, Torrent provided council to those who suggest Mitriță is a like-for-like replacement for the franchise’s all-time leading goal scorer.
“The people think about Mitri replacing David Villa, no, it’s not true,” Torrent said. “Mitri is a top player. He plays amazing. But I don’t expect Mitri to score 30 goals or 25 goals. We have to score as a team – last game, our scorers were Ringy and Eben (Ofori).”
Regardless, the expectations are high for Mitriță who has yet to reveal his full arsenal to the public.
“I mean, if you would see him in practice, it’s amazing what the kid can do with the ball,” Ring said. “The whole dynamic is that you’ll need a little bit of time to come into MLS. But the fans are going to love him for sure.”
At 5-foot-5 with a low center of gravity, tight dribbling skills and the ability to release a shot in tight spaces, Mitriță is now commonly referred to as the “Romanian Giovinco” – a tag he does not mind.
“Giovinco is one of my favorite players,” Mitriță said about the former Toronto FC DP, Sebastian Giovinco. “I loved him playing here for MLS. We have the same style, small player with good dribbling and shots.”
Mitriță was adored in Craiova where he was named captain in July of 2018. He scored 12 times in 16 matches prior to his transfer but returned home to pass on his captain’s armband in a pre-match ceremony.
“It was incredible for me,” Mitriță said. “It was very emotional. Incredible for me and my life.”