Name: Andrés Perea
Position: Central Midfielder
Key Stat: 19, 14 – those are the number of shots taken and tackles made (respectively) made by defensive midfielder in 10 appearances for NYCFC last season
Andrés Perea joined New York City FC last season on loan from the Philadelphia Union in late July. The move left many NYCFC fans scratching their heads. Why bring in a player on loan who only made eight appearances for the Union, logging just 151 minutes of playing time, at the tail end of what looked like a lost season for NYCFC?
Perea made his first appearance for New York off the bench in the team’s 0-2 loss to Minnesota United on August 20. From there, the 23-year-old earned a spot in the midfield, and started the next eight games. He quickly meshed with the team, and had an immediate impact. He impressed many, and by the end of the season, it was clear that the New York City front office should do everything it could to keep Perea at the club.
That’s just what happened last month, when Perea’s transfer was made permanent.
Strong numbers, small sample size
Perea finished the 2023 season with positive numbers. He had 14 tackles, eight interceptions, and completed about 80 percent of his passes.
Despite being a defensive midfielder, Perea liked to get forward in attack and attempted 19 shots. His lone goal was a bullet header against Toronto FC on a rainy day at Red Bull Arena. He made a deep run to the back post and was easily picked out by Santiago Rodríguez.
Most importantly, he filled a gap in the NYCFC lineup by bringing some grit and physicality to the midfield. Last year, head coach Nick Cushing praised Perea’s “Alex Ring-type profile” in an exclusive interview with Hudson River Blue. Cushing pointed out that Perea is good at frustrating the opposition because he works hard to recover the ball, and uses his body to win 50-50 challenges.
If Perea looked that good with the team last year after just a few training sessions, just imagine what he might be like after a full preseason.
Undoubtedly, Perea will play an important role in 2024. A presumed starter, Perea took the No. 8 jersey when he signed with the club, and will likely assume bigger responsibilities in a midfield trio with Keaton Parks and James Sands.
Remember, Perera might play like a seasoned veteran, but the midfielder is just 23. He brings a lot of excitement not just to this season, but for the future of the club. Perea has plenty of time to grow and improve, meaning that New York’s midfield will be in good hands this season and beyond.
Expect more tackles, shots, and bullet headers from Perea this year.