Santiago Rodríguez can put himself on the map in 2024

-Santiago Rodríguez has the potential to be one of the best players in MLS

-The NYCFC midfielder can make 2024 his best season yet

Santiago Rodríguez of NYCFC
Santiago Rodríguez of NYCFC / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

There is no question that there are talented players on New York City FC's roster. Many feel the starter players should have led the club to a few more wins in 2023. Of course, everyone knows the Pigeons failed to make the playoffs, which can partially be attributed to Nick Cushing's coaching.

Nonetheless, some players did not play to their full potential. Talles Magno is the best example, but the NYCFC winger's struggles are due to Cushing's mismanagement by playing him as a striker. Then, there was Santiago Rodríguez.

Rodríguez did not have a poor season. Rather, he played well; he did not play to his full potential. He is seen as one of the players that must step up in 2024. He needs to become more of a Maxi Moralez. Yes, thus far, he is slightly better as a winger. However, he can play the number ten role. He does well in the position, but he can be better.

2024 can be the year of Santiago Rodríguez

Truthfully, Rodríguez can step up his game in the upcoming campaign. The 24-year-old was predominantly used as a winger in 2021. He played more matches as a central attacking midfielder in the last two seasons and will continue to do so with the increase in winger depth. This will facilitate his continued development as a midfielder. Of course, he can be utilized as a winger when needed.

Moreover, there will be more offensive options for Rodríguez to pass the ball to. This should increase his chance creation and goal tally. Last year, he had only eight assists during the regular season compared to the 13 in 2022. One must remember that the roster was different and stronger then, and it was after the mass exit of veterans that the talent level declined. At the same time, most of his stats did remain the same or slightly changed. The biggest difference was a reduction in the chance creation.

The midfielder was still an attacking threat this past year, for he scored five goals. However, with the right roster around him, Rodríguez could score even more. Perhaps he can reach double digits. With the additions of Agustín Ojeda and Hannes Wolf, with the expected addition of Jovan Mijatović, and then all of the summer signings should create a more solid Starting XI for him to work with.

This is also the fourth season with NYCFC for Rodríguez. As such, it is expected he might take on a leadership role. In turn, this could aid with his confidence while on the pitch. The trust and confidence of his teammates to help lead could lead to better play.

When all is said and done, a better team around the midfielder will make him a better player. This could lead to him taking Major League Soccer by storm. He could be one of the top midfielders in 2024. More importantly, Rodríguez can finally put his name on the map. Not only can he lead NYCFC back to better days, but he can finally turn himself into someone who could eventually move to Europe.