Talles Magno was once considered one of the most exciting young prospects not just at New York City, but in Major League Soccer as a whole.
This season, the fortunes of the 21-year-old have taken a turn for the worse on the back of New York City’s worst season since its expansion year in 2015.
Talles has regularly found himself on the bench in the second half of the 2023 MLS season, and results have not improved in his absence.
NYCFC has signed striker Mounsef Bakrar during the season in order to fill the hole Talles attempted to fill at center forward following the departure of Taty Castellanos and Heber last year.
After the 0-0 draw with New York Red Bulls in the Hudson River derby on Saturday, in which Talles came on for the final few minutes of the game, coach Nick Cushing was asked if he and Bakrar could play together.
“Ultimately the fans want us to play Maxi Moralez right, they want to play Santi Rodriguez — you can’t play everybody,” he said.
“Talles had many games and many opportunities. He went in the game today at the most critical period of the game. Six minutes to go, chasing a goal. Many opportunities in their final third.
“I did consider taking Santi Rodriguez out and putting Talles Magno in and keeping Mounsef on, but Santi Rodriguez is an incredibly important guy, and I don’t say Talles isn’t.
“I get it, fans want to see all the players and if I could play a team of Mounsef, Talles, Santi, Julian [Fernandez], we would just play 11 attackers right, but the game doesn’t work like that.
“I said to Talles, actually, he will get a game in this run in over the next five and six, because he’s training incredibly hard.
“But Mounsef Bakrar is one and two — one goal in two games before this — so I think he deserves to continue to try and score.
“We knew the game, I don’t mind explaining, was going to be incredibly difficult on direct balls and second balls, so I went with three midfield players Andres Perea, Keaton Parks, and James Sands because we knew that the middle of the field, picking up second balls for a team that just kick it was going to be incredibly important.”
Talles’ appearance off the bench versus the Red Bulls was his first in three games.
In the previous matches, against Montreal and Vancouver, he had remained on the bench, but the coach hinted that the Brazilian would feature more in upcoming games, even going as far as to promise 90 minutes.
“You’ll see Talles in the next two games,” added Cushing. “You’ll see him for 90 minutes and it’s a great opportunity for Talles to go and show us his real talent, how he can add goals to this team, but ultimately we haven’t scored enough goals as a team.”