One striker joined New York City FC this summer, and now one striker has left, as the club today announced Gabe Segal has been loaned to Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Israeli Premier League until June 30, 2024.
In his brief time with NYCFC, Segal got limited, inconsistent playing time, yet also managed to score two hugely important last-gasp equalizer goals. Segal made four starts and 13 total appearances with NYCFC across all competitions, logging a little over 500 minutes of game action, yet he managed to be at the center of some key moments in NYCFC’s disappointing 2023 season.
Segal rescued draws at the death twice, first on the road against Orlando City SC in May, and then at home against Columbus Crew SC in June. He also was involved in a controversial disallowed NYCFC goal in the home loss to FC Cincinnati at the end of May, with referee Armando Villareal whistling Segal for the most phantom of fouls on defender Yerson Mosquera in the build-up to a Gabriel Pereira goal that, by all accounts, should have counted and would have opened the scoring in New York City’s favor.
NYCFC head coach Nick Cushing did give Segal a handful of opportunities to make his mark and help solve the team’s season-long problems at striker, but since Mounsef Bakrar signed back in July, Segal’s chances to play have become rarer. Segal last played for NYCFC in Leagues Cup, subbing in for the final minute of the team’s Hudson River Derby loss in New Jersey to the Red Bulls.
Segal, an accomplished college player during his three years at Stanford University, joined NYCFC in January from the reserve squad of 1. FC Köln in Germany.
The Bethesda, Md. native played one season for 1. FC Köln II in the Regionalliga West, a fourth-tier league on the German soccer pyramid, with Segal making 12 goalless appearances with the Köln reserve squad before deciding to make the move back to the United States.
Segal has been entirely absent from the NYCFC match day squad in all four of the MLS regular season games New York City have played since Leagues Cup ended.
The striker most recently logged 90 minutes and scored a goal for NYCFC II in their away game against Chicago Fire II back on August 17—he seemed firmly out of the first-team’s plans, so perhaps this move to the Israeli Premier League will allow him a better chance to get the consistent first-team minutes he wasn’t getting here in New York.
For NYCFC, the team’s limited pool of available strikers now gets even shallower. Talles Magno started the season as the team’s expected striker, but the young Brazilian winger has had a flop of a season that’s seen him fall out of favor and lose playing time. Talles Magno was not even asked to come on to replace Bakrar, the team’s new first-choice striker, when the Algerian felt hamstring pain and needed to be removed from NYCFC’s frustrating draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
With Segal not in that day’s squad and Talles Magno on the outs, Cushing chose to play midfielder Santiago Rodríguez at the No 9, a position that he’s also thrust attacking midfielder Richy Ledezma into on occasion.
Unless NYCFC decides to promote MD Myers, the NYCFC II striker who just earned MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month honors for August and cannot stop scoring, the team looks ready to rely on Bakrar and other miscast midfielders to fill the void at striker over the six remaining matches of 2023.