Maxi Moralez just announced bad news about the injury he suffered late in the 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps at Yankee Stadium.
In a post on his Instagram account, Moralez says he will need knee surgery to repair ligament and meniscus damage as a result of his coming-together with Ryan Gauld in the third minute of stoppage time. NYCFC has since confirmed that Moralez will undergo surgery to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee.
Moments before the injury, Moralez had sprung NYCFC on the counter in search of a last-gasp winner with a ridiculous, accurate outside-of-the-boot pass upfield to an onrushing Santiago Rodríguez.
Moralez had made a trailing run and eventually got on the end of a pass from Santi in a pocket of space outside the Vancouver 18-yard-box, but a heavy touch took him straight into a nasty collision with Gauld that left both players down and in pain.
New York City’s 36-year-old Argentine playmaker came out the worst of the two, unable to walk off under his own power and requiring a ride from the medical cart to get back to and around the locker room area underneath Yankee Stadium—and now we know why. Immediately after the match, Nick Cushing spoke somewhat optimistically about Moralez’s injury, but the further testing revealed a more serious issue.
It’s as yet unclear how long recovery time will be for Moralez following his ACL and meniscus injury and corrective surgery. Ligament and meniscus damage makes this a pretty serious knee injury.
NYCFC’s official release makes no mention of recovery time. The Athletic recently did a series of articles on some of the most common soccer injuries, and their installment on the ACL tear quotes a consultant knee surgeon who says “average return to play is about eight months for a pure ACL. It is longer if other structures, such as ligaments and/or menisci are involved, or if complications occur.” Over eight months of recovery would mean a potential return to action some time after May 2024, which would be well into the next NYCFC season.
This is not a pleasant way for Moralez’s surprising and unexpected 2023 comeback to end, but some solace can be taken in the fact that his newest contract with the team runs through the 2024 season. Hopefully New York City’s
No 10 No 27 can conquer the knee rehab and make it back on the pitch as soon as is possible next season, though a knee surgery is no easy thing for any player to overcome, and perhaps more so for a player who is 36 and in the later stages of a professional career that began back in 2005.
For NYCFC, the loss of Moralez is another obstacle to overcome in a season full of them, and the latest bad bit of news to crop up around a long-serving club legend.
Maxi had still looked capable of making a different against MLS opposition, and should have had an assist to Andres Jasson in the first half against the Whitecaps, if not for a wayward shot from the young winger. Here’s hoping he helps the 2024 team improve on what has become a 2023 to forget for myriad reasons.