How will NYCFC adjust without Valentin Castellanos after move to Girona?
By Blake Malick
After an outstanding MLS career, Valentín "Taty" Castellanos will be moving on from New York City FC to join Girona FC in La Liga. The 23-year-old will be making the move to Spain after an incredible four year career in the Big Apple that saw him make history.
The Argentine arrived in the MLS as a prospect in 2018 as a 19-year-old from Uruguayan club Torque. Since his arrival, Castellanos has been arguably the most electric and intriguing player in the club's history, and easily one of the best players in the MLS.
He won the MLS Golden Boot in 2021 en route to helping NYC win its first MLS Cup. In the last two seasons, Castellanos has contributed an absurd 41 goals in 48 matches (32G, 9A). At the time of his departure, he leads the MLS in goals with 13. He was on pace to win back-to-back Golden Boots. Going forward, NYCFC will surely miss his presence as it looks to defend its MLS Cup title.
As for how NYCFC will go on after life with Castellanos, it seems like Héber will take the starting striker role. It's pretty much impossible to replace a player of Taty's level, so it will be a group effort in trying to overcome the loss.
Through 16 appearances, Héber has knocked in four goals, and shown the capability to put the ball in the back of the net. He will be key in keeping NYCFC alive in the title race and helping the team defend its MLS Cup title. Other players that will need to step up are the young Brazilians in Talles Magno (20), Gabriel Pereira and Thiago (21), as well as Uruguayan Santi Rodriguez (22).
The four youngsters have scored 15 goals thus far and will need to play at their highest level going forward. Without Taty, life will be hard but a title defense is still possible due to the young, talented core that NYCFC has put together.