The recent criticism of Talles Magno is unwarranted

-Talles Magno has been struggling somewhat in 2023 for NYCFC

-Some of the criticism does not make sense

-There are many obstacles to why Magno's growth has been hindered

Talles Magno of NYCFC
Talles Magno of NYCFC / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

When Talles Magno signed with New York City FC back in 2021, there was no question he was signed for his potential.  Sure, the club knew he was a good player, but knee injuries hindered his growth down in Brazil. 

And, since the Brazilian played his first game for NYCFC, glimpses of the talent have been seen.  In fact, there were some moments where it was thought Magno would develop into the star he was expected to be, and many thought 2023 would be his year. 

Unfortunately, that is not the case.  This season, the forward has only three goals and one assist.  Performance-wise, he sometimes does well on the pitch, and other times, it feels like he is barely there.  He can also be prone to mistakes, especially when he gives up the ball in the final third.

As a result, some NYCFC fans have been very vocal and loud with their criticism of Magno, specifically on social media.  Some say he is a terrible Designated Player, and some want him gone.  Others do not want him to start for the team, even when he does well and is the best option as the left winger.

Talles Magno is sometimes unfairly criticized in 2023

Truthfully, some of the criticism of Magno’s time with New York City FC is valid.  No matter the obstacles, he should be a little better as a DP signing, and likely should have a few more goals too.  However, some of the criticism is unwarranted and sometimes harsh. 

For starters, there are some matches where Magno has a strong offensive effort, but he fails to score.  If he does not score, then some will say he had a bad game and did not play well, even if he did.  That is somewhat puzzling, for not even strikers score in every fixture and are told they played poorly. 

Overall, supporters have to remember that Magno has not been utilized properly by NYCFC.  In some ways, the club has hurt his growth, particularly this year.  The Front Office and head coach Nick Cushing thought the winger could play in the center-forward position. 

Clearly, that was not the case, and this was seen in 2022 as well.  Yet, Magno was continuously played up front and center.  When Cushing realized other players were better suited for the center-forward role, or even the false nine, the Brazilian still sometimes started or moved into the position. 

But, he is a winger, and plays his best games on the wing, and then is given the freedom to roam in the final third when it is right to do so.  Sadly, the constant switching decreased his time and ability to develop on the wings, and stunted the likelihood of him becoming a superstar in 2023.  The lack of recognition by NYCFC that the winger should have stayed on the wings was not fair to him.

Coaching decisions and the roster have hurt Magno’s development too

Moreover, there were times Cushing left Magno out of the Starting XI, and it did not make sense.  The most recent example was the fixture against the Columbus Crew.  The Brazilian had a good game against Charlotte FC just a few days before.  Offensively, it was one of his stronger performances, and all four shots that he took were on target.  He was getting closer and closer to his first goal since April 22.

So what does the head coach do in Columbus?  He does not start Magno, and he only sent the player on in the 87th minute.  The fact the winger was getting closer to a goal in the last game, and then Cushing does not start him in the following fixture, is a questionable move. 

Additionally, every NYCFC attacker has been struggling to score this season.  The lack of a talented striker who can score the majority of the goals is bringing everyone down, and this includes Magno.  Imagine if there was a striker this entire year; the criticized forward would have more goals and assists in 2023. 

Part of the reason lies in the fact there would be a striker waiting to receive the ball and capitalize on the shots taken.  Another reason is that having a talented striker can lead to a domino effect.  Confidence would grow amongst the attacking players, and the increase of competition would improve everyone in the final third.

As one can see, Magno has had blockades in his way, and these blockades were not his fault.  Yes, he could be better despite these obstacles, but it is unfair to declare him a terrible signing.  If the roster was stronger, and if the Pigeons were having a better season, then the entirety of the criticism would be warranted. 

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Still, the last season and a half has not been easy for Magno.  Hopefully, things will get better, and the Brazilian can turn into the superstar that New York City FC players and fans want him to become.