New York City FC has a new player at preseason camp in Abu Dhabi, one the club hopes will help alleviate the goal-scoring concerns brought by the departure of captain David Villa.
Sunday, NYCFC was blanked 2-0 by FC Copenhagen during its first preseason affair — and first sanctioned match in club history without Villa. Monday, NYCFC announced Romanian international forward Alexandru Mitriță signed as the club’s third Designated Player. The 23-year old Mitriță is on a permanent transfer from Romanian Liga I club Universitatea Craiova and signed a multiyear Major League Soccer pact.
“I’m very happy to be a part of this team and I’m looking forward to getting started,” Mitriță told NYCFC.com. “It is a great joy for me and I will do my best to play at a high level. I want to make everyone who believes in me proud that we were able achieve this transfer. I know this is a good group and I’m going to a club where young players can develop and grow. The team has a very good coach who has experience with lots of great clubs in Europe.”
In the first half of the 2018/19 Liga I season, Mitriță finished with 12 goals and four assists in 16 matches. In the previous season with Craiova, the 5-foot-5 attacker tallied 16 goals and four assists in 38 matches across all competitions.
His performances led to his first call-up to the Romanian national team in March last year. Mitriță now has earned six caps with Romania. He can play as an attacking midfielder, on the wing and as a central forward.
“He comes to New York during a stage in his career where he’s extremely motivated to make the next step after recently breaking into the Romanian national team,” NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said. “He was an important player at his previous club and very well-liked by an amazing and loyal fan base. Our fans will immediately notice the personality he carries on the field and they’ll really enjoy watching him play for NYCFC.”
Prior to joining Craiova, Mitriță was a two-season member of Italian side Pescara, helping them earn promotion to Serie A in 2016.
Mitriță is the seventh offseason acquisition for New York City, and he joins Maxi Moralez and Jesus Medina as club DPs.
“We’re very happy to have signed Alexandru because it was one of our main objectives in the offseason,” New York City head coach Dome Torrent said. “He’s a dynamic and versatile attacking option who can play in many systems.
“Alexandru has had a great year in Romania where he’s scored lots of goals and has been very dangerous in the attacking play and in one-v-one situations. He’s a player with plenty of experience in Europe, having played at the highest level in both Romania and Italy. I know he’ll be able to come to New York and be a key leader in our attacking front.”
In addition to Mitriță, City has added Luis Barraza, Tony Rocha, Keaton Parks, Justin Haak, Juan Pablo Torres and Ebenezer Ofori, who was re-signed after his option was declined.
New York City FC has a preseason friendly scheduled against Ofori’s former club, AIK, on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 a.m. ET at the New York University, Abu Dhabi stadium.