Have NYCFC added enough pieces to compete for the MLS Cup in 2023?

maxi moralez, NYCFC
Oct 23, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; New York City FC midfielder Maxi Moralez (10) signals his teammates against CF Montreal during the first half of the conference semifinals for the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

NYCFC is certainly in a bind after losing their core this off-season. Notably, Maxi Moralez transferred back to his boyhood club in Argentina, and Peruvian center-back Alex Callens is headed to Spain, joining striker Valentin Castellanos.

Top goalkeeper Sean Johnson signed with Toronto FC, RB Anton Tinnerholm moved back to Sweden, Brazilian striker Heber was traded to the Seattle Sounders, and defensive midfielder Nicolas Acevedo was loaned to Brazilian club, Bahia.

There are rumors that attacker Santiago Rodriguez will rejoin NYCFC for the 2023 season, which would be a significant addition, having lost so many players this off-season.

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NYCFC have plenty of questions that need answering:

Manager Nick Cushing is focused on his available talent, specifically Keaton Parks, Maxime Chanot, Alfredo Morales, Gabriel Pereira, and Brazilian star, Talles Magno. Fortunately, the team has plenty of talent to continue pushing forward, but replacing some of their best players is nearly impossible.

“We’ll be patient, we’ll make sure that we have the right players. And those players can continue the growth of this team over many years – not just this season in the short-term, but over many years.”

Manager Nick Cushing said several weeks ago, per MLSsoccer.com.

The team has been patient but did gain Richard Ledezma on loan from PSV, an attacking midfielder who could provide substantial service up top. The club also acquired Braian Cufre, an Argentinian defender on loan from Mallorca. The 26-year-old left-back will play for NYCFC this upcoming season, including a purchase option at the end of the deal. Having experience in LaLiga, he should provide plenty of quality.

Cufre is the second fullback to be added this winter, having already landed Slovenian youth international Mitja llenic. They may need a few more offensive-minded players — NYC FC could make additional moves in the future, but for the time being, Cushing is confident his team will be competitive for the opener against Nashville in just a few days.

“I’m confident that we’re going to be competitive come the 25th of February,” Cushing said. “But getting business done comes in many, many forms. One thing I can guarantee is that we’re not going to rush into having just any players.”

To answer the question, does NYCFC have enough pieces to compete for the MLS cup in 2023? They certainly didn’t replace their big names, instead relying plenty on youth and returning players to carry the load. Anything is possible, but the club certainly seems to be in a developmental stage and growth stage.