Prediction 2: The New York City FC Brazilians will storm the league
In 2021, New York City FC had three Brazilian players: Héber, Magno, and Thiago. Once the preparations for 2022 began, it was clear that Héber was looking to make a rebound and continue to recover from his ACL injury. For Magno and Thiago, they wanted to contribute more after joining in the previous season.
Therefore, the second prediction was that all three would storm the league, and have a fantastic year. Of course, NYCFC did sign Martins and Pereira, but for this, the focus will be on the first three Brazilians. It was expected they would lead the Pigeons to more success, and they would all perform well.
Alas, they did not entirely storm the league, and the predictions in this section were somewhat mixed.
For Héber, the striker was expected to have a stronger year compared to the 2020 season. It was thought he could be close to or reach the double digit goal count, and that his likely increase in opportunities would bring him closer to his top form.
After the 2022 season concluded for NYCFC, there is no doubt that Héber had his best year since 2019. He did not perform to the 2019 level, but he did have 11 goals and one assist in all competitions. As the season progressed, he looked fitter and healthier, and became more threatening towards the end. Hopefully, as long as he is with the club next season, that can continue, and maybe the 2019 Héber will emerge.
Meanwhile, it was predicted that Magno would have the best season of the three. It was predicted he would become a star, and score ten or more goals. With the expectation of Castellanos’ departure, it was thought the winger might get chances in the center-forward position. Ultimately, the predictions about Magno came true.
Yet, even though his first half of the season was fantastic, the Brazilian somewhat struggled in the second half, especially when he was up front and center. He was often vital in the attack, but clearly did not play as well as he did on the left-wing.
Like Héber, he had 11 goals in all competitions, and even added eight assists too. He had much more playing time under his belt though, and with how he started, he probably should have had closer to 20 goals. Still, even with his struggles, Magno did have the best year out of the three. Perhaps if he would have remained mostly on the wings, then he would be the rising star of MLS.
The biggest surprise though was Thiago. It was thought he would be a main-stay starter like Mango, and continue his growth. Although, with the introduction of Pereira, and then the ability of Santiago Rodríguez to play in the midfield and on the wings, it became difficult for Thiago to make the Starting XI. In the MLS regular season, he made 14 starts out of 33 appearances, and scored just five goals.
There might not have been a big jump for Thiago, but Héber had himself a better year compared to 2020 and 2021. More importantly, the older Brazilian has completely recovered from his ACL injury. And then, Magno continued his development, and had a strong season despite some struggles. So, this prediction was mixed, but all three still were important to New York City FC.