The big conversation surrounding New York City FC has been the lack of a striker/ center-forward. Before and during the season, the club has supported the idea of Talles Magno up front and center for the team. However, it is clear that the Brazilian as just a center-forward has not been the best idea, for his best play is on the wings.
Additionally, the only true center-forward on the roster is Gabriel Segal. The American made his Major League Soccer debut just this past weekend against the New England Revolution, but likely he will need time to adjust, and is still inexperienced professionally.
Talles Magno deserves the freedom in the final third for NYCFC
Hopefully, NYCFC will bring in a striker sooner, rather than later. At the same time, Magno has revealed something in the matches where he is not always front and center, or when he starts on the wings.
When the Brazilian roams, and is all over the attacking third, he plays his best football. In these cases, Magno has moments on the wings, and sometimes he moves into the center-attack as well. But when he has the freedom to move all over, he is fantastic.
Not only does he increase his own attacking opportunities, but he also just moves better when he has the freedom to move all over the final third. There is a confidence the illuminates from his hard working self that does not exist when he is constrained to being up front and center. In addition, his service game is a little better, although that is something Magno can work on.
Statistically, there is proof that the 20 year old performs better on the wings and/or when he has the freedom to move. In the NYCFC games against Chicago Fire FC and Inter Miami CF, he was used mostly as a center-forward. Against Chicago, he had no shots, and then against Miami, he had one, with that one being on target.
Then, when Magno had the freedom, his shooting ability improved. Against D.C. United, the winger had three shots, with all three on target. Then, this past weekend he had three shots with one on target against the New England Revolution.
Nick Cushing must allow his Young Designated Player the freedom to move everywhere. Restricting him to the center-forward position is not the way to go, and hurts New York City FC in the long run. That is why it is time to stop this experiment, and just let Magno play where he is great: on the wings. And of course, give him the ability to roam throughout the final third.