By Luis Vazquez
NYCFC fought well in a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls in Arizona but as the pre-season has been a worthy showcase for young talent, the three recent signings by the Blues are meant for regular season impact.
Maxi Moralez, Rodney Wallace and Yangel Herrera all have serious world-class credentials running from Mexican league top division starter, national team youth level performer and elite level youth product.
NYCFC showed that the partnership with Manchester City is not a one-way street as they secured the services of Venezuelan U-20 captain on loan from City for the upcoming 2017 season.
“He’s a tactically intelligent midfielder who is strong in tackle and reads the game well,” said NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira.”
Herrera led his country to a third place finish in the South American U-20 Championships. He is poised to learn as much as possible. “I’m very happy to take this next step in my career,” Herrera said, “To have the opportunity to play with such a high caliber of players is very exciting and to join a team that has a good football philosophy is very important to me.”
Rodney Wallace, the 28-year old free agent who played in Brazil for Sport Recife, is looking to build on his 2015 hardware he obtained with Portland Timbers during their MLS Cup-winning campaign. Wallace, the first round pick in the MLS Super Draft and impressed as part of the Costa Rican team the humbled the USMNT 4-0 in November 2016.
“I want to win trophies with this club, I want to come here and add to a bigger piece,” said Herrera.
Patrick Vieira feels he hit the jackpot here with arguably one of the best players n MLS and one of the most versatile trading $75,000 GAM and $50,000 TAM to Portland in exchange for the Right of First Refusal.
“Rodney is a quality player who can play as a winger, as a left-back or as a left side midfielder,” said Vieira, “He will bring his experience to this squad which is great for us.”
You talking experience. Well the Third Designated Player comes from Argentina.
That would be most welcome as NYCFC is in need of a creative force in midfeld to make their strikers Villa and Harrison more effective. Vieira envisions Maxi playing behind their striker David Villa and on the wings. The 30-year old has had issues with playing time in Liga MX after establishing himself as one of the best players in Serie A with Atalanta.
But Maxi sees opportunity in the big city and is looking forward to playing with world class players and coaches. “I know the league (MLS) is growing a lot and we have a lot of great players,” Moralez said, “Also, to have a quality coach like Patrick Viera is something that will help me immensely.”
NYCFC made a nice haul here as they are pulling out all stops to give Vieira all the weapons he needs to make the third year of NYC soccer memorable.
Comment: Luis Vazquez is a freelance sports contributor. Send your comments to him at Facebook.com/luis.armando.50