We don’t need to know what specific words Maxime Chanot shouted at Talles Magno in the 90th minute of New York City FC’s one-goal loss to Toronto FC to know what he said.
That’s because the defender was speaking for all of us: Yo, get up there and do your job.
The 20-year-old might be one of the best dribblers in MLS, but he has yet to display that x-factor that delineates the good players from the great.
He might be technical, and play with flair. He can be physical, and will give as good as he gets from the center-backs of other teams. But you don’t ever get the sense that Talles Magno is about to take control of a game, or terrorize the opposition with dangerous runs into the box. Other teams might respect him, but they don’t fear him.
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NYCFC feared Toronto’s CJ Sapong, who was signed just before the Primary Transfer Window closed on Monday. The 34-year-old striker was a menace with the ball, a distraction off it. He looked lethal every time Toronto progressed into the New York City box. NYCFC didn’t have an answer for Sapong. They defended him as well as they could, until they couldn’t, and he scored the only goal of the game.
Toronto had an answer for Talles Magno: Cut off the passing lanes, force him to drop back, let him dribble into trouble and lose the ball. It worked.
But it shouldn’t be that simple to contain him. Since joining the club in May 2021, Talles Magno has been more of an understudy than a leading man. After Taty Castellanos left NYCFC to join Girona FC last June, we expected Talles Magno to step up and show some hunger, some drive, some composure.
Is it his youth? It’s easy to forget that Talles Magno is only 20. Remember, Castellanos arrived at NYCFC when he was 19, and it took him more than two seasons to develop into the player who terrorized MLS defenses in 2021, and who just scored goals against Real Madrid. New York City was patient and it paid off.
If that’s the case, it will all be worth it if Talles Magno develops into the player that the NYCFC front office – and the City Football Group scouting network – believe him to be.
When will Talles Magno step up? It’s impossible to say, but until that happens we’ll let Chanot speak for us on the field and in the locker room.