Many NYCFC fans wondered why the club would give a rival Eastern Conference team General Allocation Money (GAM) for a player who could only suit up for a few games in the final third of the season.
But as time went on, Perea solidified himself as a starter in the New York midfield alongside Keaton Parks and James Sands. Perea is a versatile player who is good defensively and offensively. He links up between Parks and Sands, playing as a box-to-box midfielder or as a central midfielder who contributes to the attack.
Despite only starting seven games, it is clear that Perea is an important part of NYCFC’s squad as they look to make a playoff spot this season.
Here’s a look at why the club should sign Perea permanently after his loan expires in the off-season.
1. He’s comfortable on the ball
Perea wants the ball at his feet.
His possession numbers are impressive: Perea has a total of 412 touches in 652 minutes this season. He isn’t the type of player to keep the ball long and dribble, but when he does, it works. Perea has attempted eight take-on dribbles and has only been tackled doing that twice, resulting in a success rate of 75%.
Perea’s passing stats are also strong. Overall, Perea has attempted 341 passes this season and has a completion rate of 83.3%. He doesn’t like to play the ball long, preferring instead short or medium passes.
Perea’s completion rate of passing the short balls (between five and 15 yards) is an impressive 93.2%. His completion rate of passing medium balls (between 15 and 30 yards) is a strong 87.1%.
2. Defensive contributions
Perea can also play a more defensive role in the midfield. He can cover his center backs and win the ball back in the middle of the pitch.
Because Perea plays more as a central midfielder, he does not tackle the ball as often as a defensive midfielder would. Perea attempted 10 tackles and won the ball back eight times to gain possession for NYCFC. But he makes recoveries, winning the ball back in the middle of the field.
Perea has eight defensive blocks and interceptions, as well as seven clearances. Perea has also never made an error that led to an opponent’s shot.
It is good to know that in case Perea needs to play in a more defensive role, he is reliable there and will get the job done.
3. Progressive movement
Since joining New York City, Perea has not been shy to get in attacking positions and take shots. In fact, Perea averages 2.21 shots per 90 minutes with an average shot distance of 13 yards.
Despite all of those attempts, Perea scored only one goal so far this season — and it wasn’t even with his foot.
Perea’s first goal for NYCFC was in the second minute of the 3-0 win over Toronto FC on September 24, and it’s a great example of his ability to get forward and make runs into the box: As New York plays the ball up the pitch and to the wing to Santi Rodríguez, you can watch Perea sprint into the box and get behind a defender. Rodríguez picks out Perea, who heads the ball into the back of the net.
Perea is not an avid goal scorer, but he is the type of player who will be in a dangerous position when forward. If you give him chances in front of goal, he will take them.
Perea’s style of play is defined by his versatility. He covers the entire pitch, making contributions in defense and in the attack.
Still, he was largely ignored at Philadelphia, which signed him away from Orlando City in the offseason. Perea started only one game for the Union, logging just 146 minutes over eight appearances. He wasn’t the right fit for Philadelphia’s high-pressing transition attack, but he’s a natural for NYCFC’s possession-based soccer.
If Perea is not re-signed in the winter, he will be missed. He is a talented midfielder who has already made an impact on NYCFC despite being here for less than three months. While Parea’s future is ultimately up to the club executives and his agent, it’s clear to us that he belongs at New York City next season.