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Ronald Matarrita places #16 on annual MLS “24 Under 24” list

Despite two bad injuries, the NYCFC fullback drops just three spots from last year’s ranking

MLS: Playoffs-Toronto FC at New York City FC Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Just three days after returning to the NYCFC team sheet following recovery from toe surgery, Ronald Matarrita is officially back.

Back on Major League Soccer’s annual honor roll of up-and-comers, that is.

The talented left fullback and Costa Rica international checked in on MLS’s “24 Under 24” rankings for the second straight year, landing in the sixteenth spot.

Though the injury bug has kept him out of months’ worth of NYCFC action this year, the 23 year old Tico still managed to finish ahead of such notable operators as Diego Fagundez, Kekuta Manneh, Luciano Acosta, and Erik Palmer-Brown.

The annual rankings, which are determined from a 50-man shortlist by a panel of North American soccer media members and the MLSSoccer.com staff, aim to take into account physical and technical attributes, “soccer IQ,” personality, and potential. Two other NYCFC players made the shortlist: Yangel Herrera, currently on loan from Manchester City, and Jack Harrison, who placed second overall in last year’s ranking.

Congrats, Mata! We hope to see you back on the pitch soon— does Wednesday sound good?

What the Anonymous Technical Staffers Are Saying

  • “He’s today’s fullback. What you’re looking for in a fullback, he checks a lot of boxes.”
  • “Great technique, will overlap, good passer, does his job and knows his role.”
  • “Can get in trouble if he doesn’t process the information quickly enough and you use the sideline as a defender against him – can give up the ball.”
  • “If you can close him quickly and take away first option, can be exploited as NYCFC play out of the back.”
  • “Athletic enough that when you do beat him 1v1 or get in behind, he catches up, so you not only have to beat him but also make a decision quickly because of that recovery athleticism.”
  • “Certainly up there among the very best left backs in the league.”