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Reader Poll: How should NYCFC replace Taty Castellanos?

We want to know what you think the club will do to fill those Taty-sized shoes

Is the best option already playing for the team?
Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy

Taty Castellanos owes us absolutely nothing.

As our lone goalscorer in New York City FC’s 2021 MLS Cup Final victory, the Golden Boot winner of 2021, and the league’s current leading scorer in 2022, I think we can all understand where the young Argentine is coming from when he says he’s ready for a new challenge.

Where that new challenge will land him is still yet to be determined, but what is certain is that NYCFC will have big shoes to fill once he ultimately moves on. At the moment, there appear to be three popular schools of thought on how to fill this Taty-sized hole: Reinstate Héber as our starting striker, move Talles Magno into the No 9 role, or sign a new striker this summer transfer window.

So, we’ll walk you through all three of those options and then leave it up to a vote. Let us know which route you’d take in the poll below, and if you’re really passionate about it, leave a comment explaining why.

1. Give Héber a Chance to return to his glory days

When you think about it, Héber never really lost his spot to Taty, he just was the victim of a wildly successful injury-replacement after tearing his ACL. As the “team-first” guy Héber clearly is, I’m sure he was ecstatic for Taty’s meteoric rise to MLS success and stardom. But as someone who is clearly a passionate footballer and true competitor, I’m sure a little part of him rues the misfortune of going from the team’s leading goalscorer in 2019 to becoming a player with a reduced role in 2022.

But as he worked his way back to full match-fitness this season, we have seen flashes of that old “savage” mentality often celebrated by YES Network’s Ian Joy and Joe Tolesson. Despite his limited role so far in 2022, he’s managed five goals already in just 449 MLS minutes. That’s about a goal every 90 minutes, and good enough for the highest goals/minutes ratio on NYCFC’s roster in MLS this year.

Perhaps best of all, this solution would require very little leg work from NYCFC’s front office and coaching staff. If this option is successful, we would have to take no chances on a big-name signing, would be able to keep players like Talles Magno in their current positions, and would have a leader on this team back in the starting lineup. All very good things to have in a team that is still in the midst of a coaching change, and dealing with all the uncertainty that comes along with that.

2. Shift Talles Magno to the No 9 role

Talles Magno is class. This is something many of us had gathered upon first laying our eyes on the young Brazilian, and something he has further proven this season with his improved consistency and goalscoring output. He can create, he can finish, and he looks damn good while doing it out there with some of his dazzling individual displays on and off the ball.

But all of this has been done at the left wing position for NYCFC. And while we’ve heard before that he believes his best position is as a central striker, we are yet to see that from him in Bronx Blue colors. Given what we’ve seen from him on the wing, we at least have an idea as to what he could look like up there, and I have to say it’s pretty exciting...

First of all, he’s 6’ 1” and good in the air, so that’s a great start in my mind if you’re looking to be a center forward. Towards the back end of last year and the first half of this season, he demonstrated a desire to get on the receiving ends of crosses, and attack them with his head or on the volley — something both Taty and Héber have excelled in during their stints at striker in recent years.

But his finishing has left something to be desired at some points this season. Despite his five MLS goals already this season, sometimes we can be left feeling that he should be in double digits by now with the number of chances he’s able to create for himself.

But his eight assists already on the year (behind only Santiago Rodríguez’s nine) suggest that even if he’s not finishing at the rate of Castellanos, his playmaking ability could still prove useful in a more central role.

3. Sign a new striker

While NYCFC replaced Ronny Deila from within when the former head coach left for Belgium last month, we don’t necessarily have to do the same if Taty is to depart as well. Another option could lie in the summer transfer window, and with that comes pretty much endless possibilities.

We could go with the big names that have been floated around MLS circles recently, such as Luis Suarez. Or we could continue on with our recent model of seeking South American talent, and perhaps begin the search for our next Taty Castellanos. The truth is, predicting who our next striker target would be at this stage would be largely a guessing game.

And along with this guessing game comes a range of potential outcomes. In the best-case scenario, we lock down a new world-beater that hits the ground running in MLS with Villa, Vela, or Zlatan-like production right out of the gates. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, that doesn’t usually happen.

In the worst-case scenario, we could go after an aging legend of the game and get a Gonzalo Higuaín. Or, we could go after the next South American talent and get ourselves into another Jesus Medina situation, when the player never fully lives up to the hype.

Going big in the summer transfer window halfway through the season is always going to be somewhat of a gamble if we are expecting an immediate impact, but its a gamble NYCFC may feel they need to take if they are going to replace one of the brightest young stars in MLS.


How should NYCFC replace Taty Castellanos?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Return Héber to the starting striker role
    (78 votes)
  • 20%
    Move Talles Magno into the center of the attack
    (43 votes)
  • 41%
    Sign a new striker
    (85 votes)
206 votes total Vote Now