Is Santiago Rodríguez worthy of the MLS MVP talk?

  • Santiago Rodríguez has had a fantastic season so far for NYCFC
  • Is the midfielder worthy of being in the MVP conversation?
Santiago Rodríguez of NYCFC
Santiago Rodríguez of NYCFC / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Santiago Rodríguez just became the 13th member of the century club for New York City FC, making his 100th appearance for the team during the win against D.C. United. He has also taken on a huge role for the club for the second straight season as their number-one Designated Player. During April, the midfielder contributed four of the seven goals scored in the month with two goals and two assists.   

But why is Rodríguez worth discussing in Major League Soccer’s MVP race?

Why is Santiago Rodríguez is an MLS MVP candidate 

A NYCFC with Rodríguez is completely different without one. His influence on the team is vital. Since taking over the scoring duties from Valentín Castellanos, he has been the number one source of goals that the fans and the team rely on. With four goals and two assists in 2024, they had won three of the games he contributed to, with just one loss and a draw in the other two.   

Also, out of the 11 goals NYCFC has scored, he has contributed 54% percent of them while creating 25 chances and keeping 79.8 percent passing accuracy. These are just some of the small details that make a player MVP-worthy. All he needs is to lead his team up the table with another five months left in the campaign.   

In addition, he is on pace for career highs. Since joining the league in 2021, Rodríguez has a high of just five goals in a season, which was done last year. At the pace he is at, he can get as high as 14 goals, barring any injuries or slumps. Since he does not have a “Taty” anymore, he may not reach his regular season assist total of 13 like in 2022.   

However, his ability to score anywhere on the pitch has made him a lethal player, having already scored from a free kick, header, a fast break, and a corner kick. The DP is also averaging about 3.6 shots per match, with 36 (12 on target).   

Meanwhile, NYCFC has had several notable players who have won both individual trophies while making fans go crazy on game day. David Villa won MLS MVP in 2016 and Castellanos was the Golden Boot winner in 2021. There have also been fan favorites outside of those two, including Maxime Chanot, Sean Johnson, Alexander Ring, and Maxi Moralez.   

Now, the baton has been handed to Rodríguez, as a roar of cheers is always heard when his name is heard in the starting XI. He is also one of the leaders of the team, always playing hard while being a voice both on the pitch and in the locker room, another wonderful trait that any MVP winner should have.