First Impressions: Andoni Iraola

After being presented as New York City FC’s newest defensive addition alongside Jose Angel Tasende, (more commonly known as Angelino), and Chelsea Legend, Frank Lampard, Andoni Iraola was thrown right into the mix for NYCFC’s crucial 4-4 tie against Toronto FC. The Spanish right back, walked onto the field with pressure on his back, as the New York faithful expect the former Athletic Bilbao player has made over 400 appearances for the Spanish giants, including last season’s performances on the Champions League.

Iraola played the full 90 minutes, and seemed to impress coach Jason Kreis. His first 20 minutes wearing the sky blue jersey were ones to remember for Iraola, as he seemed as composed as ever on the ball, as well as off it. He was definitely the most confident performer out of the other 3 defensive players with Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Shay Facey, and Chris Wingert looking well below par in the first half, especially Watson-Siriboe who gave away one of two penalties in the space of 34 minutes (with the first being missed and second scored, both by my Man of the Match, Sebastian Giovinco).

NYCFC blew a two goal lead, and went back into the changing rooms at half time with a 2-3 deficit. Iraola had a decent first half, completing a few passes, successfully intercepting, and proving as a physical presence for the Toronto counter attack on the left.

New York City FC (via Facebook)
New York City FC (via Facebook)

The second half was a lot quieter for the Spanish right back, as the 4-man NYCFC midfield begun to do its job, and held the ball very well. Iraola became a very adventurous right back in the second half, with many overlapping runs being made as New York desperately looked for the equalizing goal. Once David Villa tucked in the equalising fourth penalty on the 65 minute mark, the game once again turned on its head, with Toronto once again playing with pace, and searched for the equaliser. Iraola and his defensive colleagues did well to counter the pressure, but eventually gave away the seventh goal of the day. Iraola was slightly at fault, as Sebastian Giovinco went by him too easily, and squared the ball back to Marco Delgado.

Although City conceded four goals against a decent Toronto side, there were definitely some evident positives, most of them coming from New York’s star right back, Andoni Iraola.


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