New York City FC: Roster Update March 2022

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: Talles Magno #43 of New York City FC celebrates his goal with teammate Andres Jasson #21 of New York City FC in the second half of the match against the CF Montréal at Yankee Stadium on March 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: Talles Magno #43 of New York City FC celebrates his goal with teammate Andres Jasson #21 of New York City FC in the second half of the match against the CF Montréal at Yankee Stadium on March 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images) /

The 2022 season for New York City FC is well underway.  So far, the team only has one win in four matches in Major League Soccer, but will play in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals for the first time in their history.  Young players like Talles Magno are bursting onto the scene, and veterans like Maxi Moralez are still vital pieces of the Starting XI.

Back in January, MLS Multiplex discussed the current roster.  At that point, the club had not made any signings.  Most of the discussion surrounded the players who left, and the signings they had to make.  There was also the focus on Valentín Castellanos, for his future was unknown back then.  Now, the striker will clearly be with the club until the summer, and will likely make the jump to Europe mid-season.

Since then, NYCFC has made quite a few signings.  Some of the new players will make an immediate impact in the first team, while others will spend most of their time with the MLS Next Pro side.  Nonetheless, the Pigeons are looking at both the now and the future, which is vital for the longevity of success.

In addition, no other players have left since the January update.  This confirms that the majority of those on the roster are from the 2021 season.  Of course, a trade could occur somewhere down the line, and Castellanos is expected to leave this summer.

New York City FC has made signings since the last roster update

Still, New York City FC did not sign, nor have they been looking for, a replacement for the 2021 Golden Boot winner.  Head Coach Ronny Deila told NYCFC radio analyst Glenn Cooks he feels they have two talented strikers currently, being Castellanos and Héber.  Then, he feels Magno can play in the center forward position too, suggesting the Brazilians can perhaps act as Castellanos’ replacement.

Before the season started, such an answer would be seen as a little crazy, but with how Magno is playing, it actually makes sense.  Moreover, goals are being shared amongst the team, and not only coming from Castellanos.  Also, Héber is slowly gaining his form back, and has only come off the bench, limiting his minutes.  It is only a matter of time before he starts scoring again.

While NYCFC did not sign a striker, they did sign three new homegrown players: Jonathan Jimenez, Nicholas Benalcazar and Samuel Owusu.  The three were announced on January 19, one day after MLS Multiplex released the January roster update.  They are expected to predominantly play with New York City FC II, but be available for the MLS roster if needed.  Jimenez is a forward, whereas Benalcazar and Owusu are defenders.

However, since the three will be playing with the MLS Next Pro side for 2022, it is likely they would only be considered if no one else was available.  At least they are an option though.  Only time will tell whether they make an appearance this year.

Additionally, on February 28, NYCFC announced the signing of their youngest Homegrown player in both team and MLS history.  14 year old Maximo Carrizo became the latest Homegrown, and is the second 14 year old signed by the club.  It will probably be a few years before he sees first team minutes, and will continue to develop via the academy, and likely NYCFC II.

Another option for NYCFC II would probably be one of this month’s signings, Kevin O’Toole.  The former Princeton forward was the team’s first pick in the SuperDraft, and picked 34th overall.  The Pigeons signed him through this season with options for the next two years, and Sporting Director David Lee said he will have opportunities with the MLS Next Pro side.  And like the Homegrown signings, only time will tell on whether he will earn minutes with the first team.  He has been on the bench though already, so maybe his debut will happen soon.

The bigger signings for New York City FC

New York City FC not only brought in players for the future, but for the present as well.  The first major addition was Thiago Martins.  The center-back was signed as a Designated Player from Yokohama F. Marinos, and was rated as one of the best defenders in the J1 League.

Even though signing a center-back as a DP is an interesting choice, there is no doubt Martins can compete for the starting position with Alexander Callens and Maxime Chanot.  This increases the competition, and makes sure all three will fight to have one of those coveted spots.  Or, as seen in the CCL, all three might start for Deila.  Meanwhile, he already has started a few MLS games, so he is already proving his talent.

More significantly, the center-back position was problematic when Callens and Chanot were away with their national teams.  Martins gives some breathing room in such situations, and allows for a more experienced defender to be in the backline.  His signing also means if any of the three go down injured, then there is another solid defender to take their place.

Yet, the Brazilian has to adjust to the league, and as is for many, may take some time to adjust.  He has already made a few rough mistakes, but that should reduce as the season continues.  He is known for his defensive capabilities and speed, so that should eventually lead him to be one of the more talented center-backs in the league.

Finally, the most recent signing, which was just announced on March 17, is another Brazilian, Gabriel Pereira.  The forward, who plays mostly as a right winger, was signed as a part of the U22 initiative from Sport Club Corinthians Paulista.  It is unknown whether he will break into the Starting XI right away, or what the team plans for him in 2022.  Nevertheless, he is expected to become a major part of the first team.  He is a highly-rated prospect, and eventually should adjust to MLS and NYCFC.

In fact, Lee described him perfectly for

"“In Gabriel, we’re acquiring a very talented and highly regarded prospect that we know will bring a new attacking dimension to our team. Gabriel is a quick, skillful, and dynamic left-footed winger that can take on opponents in 1v1 situations.  His First Team appearances for a Club the size of Corinthians at such a young age highlight how talented he is.”"

The sporting director added how he will add to the depth and competition in the attack too, which of course is noteworthy with the young wingers already playing for NYCFC.  Plus, he allows for rotation amongst the wings, pending on the occurrence that Deila actually commits to rotation when he says he will rotate.  More importantly, he is a natural right sided winger, whereas Thiago and Magno are more comfortable on the left wing.

It will be intriguing to see whether Pereira adjusts quickly to the league, and whether he brings an immediate impact.  Although, having four other Brazilian teammates should help him acclimate to his new team.  It is also helpful that three of the other four are forwards.

After all of the new signings, there is no doubt New York City FC is looking toward the future.  At the same time, they are looking at the present, and with the Brazilian signings, show they are ready to compete for another trophy.

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