Forget about that sending off against Chicago this summer. Yangel Herrera can do no wrong.
The rough-and-tumble NYCFC midfielder, currently on loan from Manchester City, has officially clocked in at the sixth spot on Major League Soccer’s annual honor roll for young players, the “24 Under 24” list.
The 19 year old Herrera, who missed significant time earlier this year due to a brilliant run as Venezuela’s captain at the U20 World Cup, has fit right into things in the Five Boroughs, notching a goal and an assist in his first MLS start, a 3-2 victory over Columbus at the end of April. Since then, he’s formed a sterling midfield partnership with Alex Ring and Maxi Moralez— to date, NYCFC is undefeated when the trio starts together.
The rising South American star has made himself impossible to ignore this season, bringing a thrilling combination of defensive tenacity and on-the-ball play. His very presence has forced many an opponent to throw its gameplan right out the window, and he possesses field vision and aerial skills well beyond his years.
The odds are against “Daddy Yangkee” sticking around the Five Boroughs beyond this season — the smart money would be on Manchester City loaning him out in Spain at sister club Girona in 2018, or perhaps elsewhere in the Premier League — but his contributions are anything but unheeded among fans of the Boys in Blue.
- “Has displaced Pirlo at his position, so you know his coach has confidence in him”
- “Maybe because he’s Venezuelan and plays a No. 6/8 role people don’t notice him, but he’s a huge talent, tough kid, covers a lot of ground”
- “He’s special”
- “When you’re a young guy with all that energy and liveliness, you have to learn to recognize moments in games when you need to hold your shape, cover for attacking teammates”
- “Understands his role well for such a young age, makes him very valuable to his team”