New York City FC flew to Abu Dhabi Monday night with a 30-man traveling party as the club’s preseason gets underway.
City will take on FC Copenhagen and AIK in friendly matches Feb. 3 and Feb. 8, respectively.
“FC Copenhagen and AIK will provide a challenging set of matches against two teams that regularly compete in the Champions League and Europa League,” head coach Domenec Torrent said. “Our players will benefit greatly from these tests early on in the preseason as we look to mold the identity of our team heading into the 2019 season.”
Offseason acquisitions Luis Barraza, Keaton Parks and Tony Rocha made the journey, as well as returning loanee Ebenezer Ofori and the club’s newest Homegrown Player signing Justin Haak.
Five NYCFC Academy players will join the first team in Abu Dhabi: 2018 Academy player of the year Nico Benalcazar, Alex Rando, Tayvon Gray, Vejlko Petkovic and Dante Polvara.
MLS SuperDraft pick Adbi Mohamed also os traveling after the defender was selected as NYCFC’s second round selection.
The squad is comprised of players returning, including team defensive player of the year Anton Tinnerholm, newcomer of the tear Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and MVP Maxi Moralez.
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson and midfielder Jonathan Lewis will join the team when their international duty with the U.S. men’s national team wraps after the friendly vs. Costa Rica Saturday.
“This preseason will challenge our team in many different ways. We’ll experience different locations, venues and teams that will push us physically, mentally and tactically,” sporting director Claudio Reyna said. “We couldn’t be more excited to begin our preseason in Abu Dhabi.”
NYCFC travel roster
Goalkeepers (5): Sean Johnson#, Brad Stuver, Jeff Caldwell, Luis Barraza, Alex Rando*
Defenders (10): Anton Tinnerholm, Joe Scally, Abdi Mohamed^, Maxime Chanot, Sebastien Ibeagha, Tayvon Gray*, Alex Callens, Nico Benalcazar*, Ronald Matarrita, Ben Sweat
Midfielders (11): Alex Ring, Ebenezer Ofori, James Sands, Justin Haak, Keaton Parks, Tony Rocha, Juan Pablo Torres, Dante Polvara*, Maxi Moralez, Danny Bedoya, Veljko Petkovic*
Forwards (4): Jonathan Lewis#, Jesus Medina, Valentin Castellanos, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
* Academy Player
^ Unsigned Draft Pick
# will join at conclusion of USMNT camp