Andoni Iraola Announces Retirement

This morning, NYCFC announced that Andoni Iraola would be retiring. With Iraola’s retirement, that leaves NYCFC missing two of their starting midfielders. Frank Lampard announced he was leaving NYCFC earlier this week.

Andoni Iraola Announces Retirement

Iraola’s Impact

Before coming to NYCFC, Iraola spent 12 season playing for Athletic Bilbao’s first team, after playing in their academy. While with the first team he only had one season where he made less than 30 appearances. He also scored at least one goal in every season he played with Bilbao.

Last season, Iraola mainly played right back, and didn’t impress much. However, this year he moved to defensive midfield. This move turned out to be wonderful for his season, as he ended up with the starting role. He also beat out Federico Bravo, a younger more athletic defensive midfielder, for the starting role.

This season he amassed 2180 minutes over 29 appearances. Iraola averaged 2.2 tackles/game, 1.4 interceptions/game, 1.4 clearances/game, 43.9 passes/game, and 86.6% passing completion. He was the link between the defense and Andrea Pirlo and Lampard. Also, Iraola helped NYCFC pass out of the back. However, he was a big part of NYCFC conceding the most goals of any playoff team.

The Future

NYCFC have a lot of question marks regarding their midfield. Frank Lampard, Andoni Iraola are gone. Tommy McNamara and Mehdi Ballouchy are out of contract. Federico Bravo’s loan expired, but he has an option to buy. Finally, Mix Diskerud may end up being traded. However, NYCFC have one Designated Player slot, plus the open salary cap to sign new midfielders. They can also re-sign Bravo and use their draft pick to get a new midfielder. NYCFC will need to shore up their midfield in order to concede less goals. Regardless of the avenue they use to acquire players, NYCFC will need a lot of help in the midfield next year.