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In the first edition of our new investigative reporting series, we unearth the shocking truth behind one NYCFC star’s success.

Hudson River Blue via USA TODAY Sports

The Pigeon Report is Hudson River Blue’s hardest-hitting journalistic effort to date, with a mission of answering the big NYCFC questions everyone else is too afraid to ask. Today’s debut edition takes us far, far from home, all the way to the wilds of Patagonia...

It was a long and treacherous journey deep into the Andes Mountains of Argentina. The heat was unrelenting; the insects were assertive. Our traveling group was miserable while our destination remained an indeterminate distance (and time) away. By the third day of traversing the mountain range, there were two questions on everyone's mind: “Was this trip worth it?” and “How can a professional sports team claim that they are a New York team when they only play two or three games a year within the state of New York?”

This journey would hopefully reveal an answer to at least the former.

Maximiliano Nicolas Moralez, New York City FC’s new attacking engine in the midfield, was the singular reason for this trip. Throughout his career, he has shown tremendous ability in spite of his stature— Maxi is officially listed as 5ft 2in, which is small for the average human male, let alone a professional athlete. But that hasn’t mattered. Not to Maxi. He has been prolific and productive and in his short time with NYCFC, and we can see why through his crisp passing and zippy runs between nonplussed defenders.

Spurred on to find the source of this remarkable ability, we embarked on a journey deep into his native Argentina to find the answers behind...

The Myth of Maxi.

It was the fifth day of our trek into the mountains when our guides halted suddenly before a small cave in the mountainside. They did not budge any further, a signal that we had arrived at our fated destination.

Legend around the rural towns and villages of Argentina speaks of a great power that lies within the heart of the Andes. Some spoke in hushed whispers of a power that can turn dust into gold, Crystal Pepsi back into regular Pepsi, and guinea pigs into gold. Others spoke of a power that can grant a perfect Boz Scaggs singing voice. But every single denizen of the region always mentioned, tremblingly, a power that can grant magical abilities—

Abilities that come with a price.

Knowing that we had come from far and that turning back was no longer an option, my crew and I entered the cave to discover the truth of Maxi Moralez’s power.

We could not have been prepared for what we were to discover.

Children didn’t used to be taller than Maxi...
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Immediately upon entering, we were blasted by a steady stream of powerful, sulfurous wind that seemed to originate from deep within the mountain depths. We pushed on deeper into the cavern, looking for something that could provide some clue as to how Maxi came into such incredible ability.

As the wind rushed over our bodies, we were reminded of the blinding speed with which Maxi cuts apart defenses, such as Orlando’s. Suddenly, the path opened up into a chamber with massive dome-shaped roof. At its floor was a dark body of water 100 yards across. At the center of this lake was a bent man in a rowboat. Neither the guides or the locals had informed us that there may be someone down there. We were caught off-guard and called out to the pale-faced stranger. Once he rowed over to us, he bellowed knowingly that we were there seeking answers on the mystical origin of el frasquito. Without giving us time to process our alarm at how he could come by this information so deep within the cave, the man explained that he could translate the arcane powers of the earth through the mountains, and asked if we thought it was cool that he could juggle.

Maxi had come to this cave circa 2003 with the hopes of getting the power needed to become a professional footballer. At that time, Maxi was a tall and lanky young man full of determination and skill, the Juggling Man said. Wait... how tall? He couldn’t confirm despite our repeated attempts to help him recollect.

However, local legend claims that Maxi was, at one time, the tallest man in Granadero Baigorria.

Maxi had asked the Juggling Man for the mountain’s power to grant him the ability to carve up defenses, like Orlando’s, so that he could realize his life’s passion of playing soccer. He obliged, but warned Maxi that there would be a tall price for asking him to draw upon the powers of the earth. Maxi’s passion held him steadfast throughout the rigorous ceremony, which lasted 2 full days, during which neither the Juggling Man nor Maxi could leave the cave.

Two years after Maxi had left the depths of the Andes to embark on his now certain path in life, Racing Club of the Argentine Primera Division signed him to a professional contract. It was there that the Myth of Maxi began to take hold.

His ability was astounding, cutting apart defenses and assisting his teammates time after time. However, as time progressed and his successes continued, the tall young man kept getting shorter. His officially listed height went down year by year, but he switched leagues just frequently enough to throw everyone off his trail.

Until now.

Yes, even while Maxi continued to show his flair and passion for the sport with successes, those successes would increasingly show that they came at the price of his size, which continues to decrease gradually to this day.

It’s hard to say how much height Maxi has left to contribute before he completely disappears into the atmosphere, but this journalist is comfortable claiming that as long as he is allowed to be on a professional football pitch, he will excite, electrify, and encourage everyone who may bear witness to his abilities.

But if he doesn’t retire before he’s suddenly too diminutive to ride the Coney Island Cyclone, he’ll have no one to blame but himself.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a work of satire. The events depicted did not actualy take place, as far as we know.