New York City FC had a crazy offseason, mostly due to departures from the club. The roster is currently questionable, for it is unknown whether the team can compete to the level the Pigeons are used to. Many believe that 2023 will not be the greatest season.
Then, the midfield was somewhat in shambles, especially since Maxi Moralez left to return home and Nicolás Acevedo left on loan. NYCFC still has Keaton Parks and Alfredo Morales, but both suffered injury issues in 2022.
Thankfully, the club announced James Sands' return, and he will help the midfield significantly. However, there is even more great news: Santiago Rodríguez is back.
Originally, the versatile midfielder returned to his parent club, Montevideo City Torque, when his loan expired. It was reported a permanent deal could not be reached, and he would not return to NYCFC.
Santiago Rodríguez returns to New York City FC on a permanent deal
However, after a few months of negotiating, the young midfielder signed a permanent contract with New York City FC, and is officially back. The new deal has him with the club until 2027, and he is now registered as a Designated Player.
Already, he has been declared as the replacement for Moralez. Of course, he can play as the #10, and has done so in the past. His versatility to play on the wings as well helps the Pigeons with their options for the Starting XI. Make no mistake, the 23 year old will play as the #10, and there was a reason he switched his jersey number to 10.
Similar to the former legend, Rodríguez helps glue the midfield together, and can help drive the ball up the pitch. He is not afraid to take risks, and his passing ability continues to improve. Although he will not be Moralez, having him back will help the midfield immensely, and automatically improves the roster. His return does not answer all of the roster holes that still exist, but it does allow supporters to sigh a little bit of relief.
Sporting Director David Lee had this to say regarding the returnee:
"We are excited to welcome Santi back to NYCFC on a permanent basis. Over the last two seasons Santi developed into one of the most impactful attacking players in MLS and quickly became a very important part of our group. He has an extremely bright future ahead of him and at just 23 years old, we know he will continue to develop and improve."- David Lee
The return of Rodríguez is nothing short of fantastic. There is still a lot to do with rebuilding the roster, but having the young midfielder back in the Starting XI already makes New York City FC more competitive.