Extension for Maxi Makes City His Team

photo from AP

New York City FC may have a captain in Alex Ring but the two-year extension for midfielder Maxi Moralez, combined with his record-tying number of assists in 2019, makes the City his team for the remainder of his stay in the Bronx. The Argentine player has been a consistent fixture for NYCFC and now appears to be blossoming at the right time under the work of head coach Dome Torrent.

“Maxi is an incredible football player,” said Torrent. “He’s having one of the best seasons in MLS history, but for him it’s about more than the individual performance. He cares so much about the other players on the pitch. He always wants what’s best for New York City FC. He works extremely hard and deserves everything that football has given him. We’re happy he has signed with us for two more years.”

The past three seasons have been incredibly productive for Moralez who joined in 2017 and became an instant contributor. Hidden behind the star power of David Villa and Andrea Pirlo, the midfielder was able to grow in the league and shined bright in 2018 when he notched 18 assists and eight goals under both Patrick Vieira and Torrent. This year, he took that to the next level by tying Sacha Kljestan for second all-time in single season assists.

Of course, the job isn’t done yet.

NYCFC has had its most successful season on the field, finishing in first place in the Eastern Conference and has the potential to host every playoff game unless LAFC meet them in the final. The stage is set for Maxi and the team to do what hasn’t been done since the Cosmos in the 1980’s and that is win a championship in a first division in New York City.

“He’s accepted his role as a leader within the team,” said Sporting Director Claudio Reyna. “His influence on the pitch has been tremendous. I know how much Maxi loves the club and how motivated he is to bring championships to NYCFC.”

The lack of a noticeable European star allowed Moralez to step out from the shadows in 2019 and add his own voice to the leadership of the team. For many years it was dubbed Villa’s team but the departure of the Spanish striker left a hole that took several personalities to fill. Moralez is one of them but others like Ring, Tinnerholm and Callens have added something to the recipe that was lacking in years past and could be the right mix for playoff success.

Either way, Moralez will have two more years to add to his legacy in MLS. Whether the team lifts MLS Cup at the end of the playoffs, the team will be going into continental play in the Concacaf Champions League and potentially even further in MLS before the end of 2021.