With Gabriel Segal loaned out to Israeli side Hapoel Tel Aviv, New York City FC now have just one pure striker on the roster, Mounsef Bakrar. However, another striker is quietly going under the radar and could find future success if given the chance.
Matthew “MD” Myers, who was selected by NYCFC in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, currently plays for NYCFC II. The six-foot-tall Myers scored 17 goals in 25 matches, and now finds himself the joint-leader for the Golden Boot in MLS NEXT Pro.
Myers is a key part of the team, starting every match this season in the No 9 position. His 17 goals and four assists over 2186 minutes work out to one goal involvement every 104 minutes.
Will the departure of Segal mean that Myers will get the chance he deserves with New York City? Bakrar has yet to go the full 90 minutes in the seven games he played with NYCFC in all competitions. Myers could make appearances from the bench to relieve Bakrar, but still contribute with goals.
Or will NYCFC continue to let Myers develop in MLS NEXT Pro? The 22-year-old was playing for Rutgers University just last fall, and has yet to log a full year as a professional.
Myers started his collegiate career at High Point University in North Carolina. He was a huge factor in leading the Panthers to their first Big South Tournament Title in 2021, scoring 14 goals in 14 matches.
Myers then transferred to Rutgers University in his final season of college eligibility, where he led the Scarlet Knights to their first Big Ten Championship Title in 2022. Myers netted a team-leading 13 goals and was tied for fourth in goals scored nationally.
Clinical in front of goal
Myers is a prime example of a clinical No 9, someone who can finish off chances in front of goal. This season, Myers has a total of 39 on-target scoring attempts and boasts a conversion rate of 27.4%.
Myers is the type of striker who likes to stay in the 18-yard box, as all of his goals have come from close range. He can score with both feet, with 12 of his goals right-footed, three left-footed, and two headed.
A prime example of his clinical finishing can be seen from in the first goal Myers scored in a 4-3 win against Huntsville. After NYCFC II won the ball back in midfield, Myers used his pace to get into the box, dribble past the defender, and slot it past the goalkeeper.
Another example can be seen in his second goal against Huntsville. Here, Jonathan Jimenez slides a pass in behind and Myers beats his man to score with his weak foot. Myers used his pace to get to the pass before the defender and scored with a perfectly placed ball inside the goalkeeper’s near post.
Why MD Myers is a good fit
Myers might be tall, but he likes to use his pace to his advantage. Myers presses defenders, but he’s also skilled at running in behind to get into a scoring position inside the box. He will finish off chances if he is one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and he knows how to position himself so he can pounce on any rebounds or misplaced passes from the opposing team.
One example of his attacking positioning can be seen in his goal in a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Red Bulls II. With the ball bouncing around New Jersey’s box, Myers positioned himself right in front of the goal to simply tap the ball in off of a rebound.
Are NYCFC still in need of a striker who is clinical in front of goal and takes advantage of any scoring opportunity? Before NYCFC signed Bakrar, Head coach Nick Cushing chose to play Talles Magno out of position, or tasked attacking midfielders to fill in at the No 9. It’s notable that Cushing didn’t call up Myers despite NYCFC’s goal drought.
Bakrar is settling into his role as the team’s No 9, scoring twice in as many games. But Myers could serve as his backup. His proven success for NYCFC II shows that he is settled in and prepared for the MLS.
Now it’s up to Cushing to decide if Myers is ready for a bigger stage.