CARSON, Calif. — New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira sat in a suite at StubHub Center on Thursday, watching a rain-drenched match at the MLS combine and surveying the talent available in Friday's MLS draft. One position he wasn't likely to be worrying too much about is left back. Not only because the pickings were slim at that position in this year's draft, but because Vieira already has one of the best left backs in MLS, and he isn't going anywhere.
Costa Rican fullback Ronald Matarrita has been the subject of transfer rumors for much of the winter, having impressed for both club and country in 2016 enough to start garnering interest from European clubs. Vieira made it clear on Thursday, however, that Mataritta is coming back to NYCFC for the upcoming season.
"(Mataritta) is not going anywhere," Vieira told Goal USA on Thursday. "I can say he's not going anywhere."
Matarrita joined NYCFC in 2016 and promptly became one of the most dynamic fullbacks in the league, serving as an attacking threat and a steady defensive presence. The 22-year-old's success has carried over to the Costa Rican national team, where he has become a regular starter.
That success led to speculation linking Matarrita to Bundesliga clubs Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg, but Vieira insisted that no such offers came in for the young defender.
Rather than let any more key players leave, NYCFC is focused on bolstering the roster, including filling the sizeable vacancy left by Frank Lampard's departure.
"I think with David (Lee) and Claudio (Reyna), we're working hard to try to improve the team to be better than last year," Vieira told Goal. "We have some really interesting targets. Of course losing Frank is a big blow because he did really well for us. We have to look at the players who can fit in the system we want to play, and players who can make us improve and it's not going to be easy to find these players."