New York City FC – Match Report vs. New York Red Bulls (17/07/2022)

New York City F.C were able to knock off their rivals New York Red Bulls 1-0 in a scrappy closely contested match. NYCFC played in an aggressive 4-2-3-1 with narrow wingers and the fullbacks pressing high up the pitch. The Red Bulls played in their classic high pressing style which largely frustrated NYCFC. But the Red Bulls were not able to create many chances of their own. 


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Talles Magno

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 26/07/2002
  • Current Club: NYCFC
  • Career: Vasco De Gama (Y), Vasco De Gama
  • Position: Winger
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Talles Magno was one of the first players I ever covered for Target Scouting (he got an A2). He has been putting up some pretty impressive numbers this season so I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit him and see if my opinion had changed. Based on this match I can’t say it has that much. His talent is obvious but he was not dominating the game in quite the way I would expect of a player ready for another level. 

Magno played on the left side of NYCFC’s narrow front four. He was usually receiving the ball in the left half space and playing short link-up passes with teammates. It was quite obvious that Magno has skill. He showed good first touch, looked confident in moments when he was carrying the ball, and had great off-the-ball movement. But he had a hard time turning that good action around the edge of the penalty area into shots. The stats would suggest that Magno is a shot-creating machine but in this particular match, and the previous match of his that I watched, that just wasn’t the case. Maybe I just keep catching him on a bad day. No doubt the Red Bull’s defensive play was a factor. Their high press made it very difficult for NYCFC to get their build-up play going with none of their players ever having a moment of peace on the ball. But there will certainly be defences that press at higher levels. 

Magno held up pretty well in physical duels despite his slight frame. He did a good job of shielding the ball when pressed. He did a fair amount of defensive work as well. All the pieces for a good player are pretty clearly there, he just couldn’t put it all together in this game. 

Rating – A2

At the end of the day, it’s still an A2. I think it’s clear Magno has skills and at 19 he absolutely has the potential to play at a higher level. But in the games I have seen, he is not driving offence in quite the way I would need to see to hand out an A1. The stats seem to indicate that he can generate offence but, like the singing frog from Looney Tunes, he doesn’t seem to want to do it while I’m watching. 

Tayvon Gray

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: 19/08/2002
  • Current Club: NYCFC
  • Career: Cedar Stars, NYCFC (Y)
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Playing as a right back in this game, Gray showed some flashes but mostly struggled. He was playing very high up the right-hand side and the Red Bulls were having some success by just playing the ball in behind him. This can partly be put down to tactics but he was leaving NYC’s right-sided centre-back isolated against a dribbler quite a lot. He did have a good recovery pace but he was often so wildly out of position that there was simply no chance of him getting back in time. There was also at least one instance where he totally misjudged the flight of the ball and completely missed a header. 

Gray struggled a lot with the Red Bull’s press. He often put himself in trouble with poor touches or not being able to play the ball forwards quickly enough. In the final 3rd, he showed some flashes of quality. He was able to get a decent shot off by dribbling past a couple of defenders and setting up Santiago Rodriguez for a good shot at the top of the box. But these offensive contributions were not consistent enough. His crosses were mostly bad and he generally didn’t do a good enough job of turning advantageous positions into chances.

Gray does have pretty good physicals for his age and that did help him with physical battles, aerial duels, and getting to loose balls before opponents. As he gets older, stronger, and more experienced those physicals could help him develop into a solid MLS player. 

Rating – B2

Gray has a few positive traits on which a useful game can be built. But at the moment he’s a low-end MLS starter or high-end backup. He’s young so there’s lots of time for him to improve but if he goes to a higher level it won’t be for several years. 

Santiago Rodriguez

  • Nationality: Uruguayan
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 08/01/2000
  • Current Club: NYCFC (on loan from Montevideo Torque) 
  • Career: Nacional (URU, Y), Nacional (URU), Montevideo Torque
  • Position: Winger
  • Secondary Position: Attacking Midfielder
  • Preferred Foot: Right 

Rodriguez had a very strong performance in this match. He played on the right wing, in an equal and opposite role to Talles Magno. Rodriguez was quite a bit more involved both in the build-up and in the final 3rd. 

One thing that clearly stood out as a major strength of Rodriguez was his dribbling ability. He was able to beat players and make it through incredibly tight spaces to advance the ball. On more than one occasion two or three players would seem to have him cornered only for him to somehow squirt away. He was very persistent when chasing loose balls so even when he did not get past somebody cleanly he would often get a hold of the ball again in the little moment of uncertainty after the opponent got a toe on it. 

He also got involved in build-up play in central areas quite a lot, creating space for Gray to push into more advanced wide positions. Rodriguez has played quite a bit as a #10 in his career but for NYCFC he is pushed to the wing to accommodate Maxi Moralez. I suspect that he would be better in that position because he played in very deep and narrow positions quite a lot. The wingers sit narrower in NYCFC’s system so it’s not a huge deal but even when accounting for that he looks more comfortable with the ball in central areas than wide ones. Rodriguez demonstrated some quite solid passing. Mostly he made clean short-range passes but he did assist Valentin Castellanos with a fantastic ball over the top of the defence.

Rating – A2

Rodriguez is 22 and his production is good but not elite. I think he could be more effective if played in a central role. I’m not sure he’ll ever hit the highest heights in football but a team that competes in the Europa League could do a lot worse than throwing a few million at CFG for Rodriguez. 

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