Going into his second season at New York City FC, Alex Ring has a strong sense of unfinished business.
The central midfielder, who was one of the league's breakout stars in 2017, admits that the MLS Playoffs defeat to Columbus Crew still nags at him, but he's channeling these feelings into a positive to take into the new campaign.
Despite only joining the club ten days prior to the 2017 season, Ring has already emerged as one of NYCFC's leaders on the field and in the locker room, setting the standards, both in terms of his quality and his tenacity.
A man of few words, who prefers to do his talking on the field rather than in interviews, Alex kept it typically direct and to the point when NYCFC.com caught up with him at the team's preseason training camp.
"Being here earlier than last year makes a difference," he said, "Last year, I came ten days before the season started, so this is my first preseason with the Club and it's been good, we've been working hard."
NYCFC were just a goal shy of capping one of the all-time MLS Playoffs comebacks on that painful night in the Bronx in November.
For Ring, it's still a bone of contention, leaving him to spend the offseason feeling as though City should have at least booked a place in the Eastern Conference finals.
This time, Alex doesn't want to leave anything to chance and he believes that the roster has been bolstered by quality additions who will embroider the core group of players who remain.
"They are players who suit our style of play and we definitely have more depth in the team," he opined.
"There's definitely more competition for places and that's going to help over the season, especially when you consider the new additions with the core of last year's team.
"Everyone is still not happy with how things turned out last year, so we want to prove to ourselves that we can win the Cup. This year, we have to show we deserve it over the course of the whole season. Otherwise, it will be the same story as last year and that is not what we're working for right now."
Taking the Nordic contingent at NYCFC up to three, the trio have already been dubbed "The Vikings" around the training ground in LA where it is a great deal warmer than their respective homelands.
However, Ring is no fish out of water, as he explains...
"They call me the Mediterranean Fin, so I think this weather suits me well," he laughed.
On this, and any other point, you would not argue with Alex Ring.
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