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Talles Magno, Thiago make MLS “22 Under 22”

We take a look at NYCFC’s history with a list that is arbitrary does a good job handicapping young talent

Well done, lads.
Photograph by Katie Cahalin. courtesy NYCFC.com

Yesterday, MLS released the 2022 22 Under 22 presented by BODYARMOR list, and New York City FC’s Talles Magno and Thiago made the cut. Congratulations, boys.

Talles Magno makes his debut way up at #3, behind FC Dallas striker and US international Jesús Ferreira and Atlanta United midfielder and Argentina international Thiago Almada. The 20-year-old Talles Magno is keeping good company — somebody buy that kid a kombucha.

Thiago appears at #16, up from last year’s debut at #19. Thiago has been such a consistent presence in the NYCFC lineup since he joined the squad last year that it’s sometimes easy to forget he was signed when he was just 19.

The inclusion of those two speak to NYCFC’s commitment to cultivating young talent. Just 16 teams are on the 22 Under 22 this year, and only six had multiple players chosen.

It also keeps NYCFC’s streak alive: New York City have had a player named to every list since the club joined the league in 2015. That’s no small thing. Only Dallas and New Jersey Red Bulls match that run. (Both Atlanta United and LAFC have had players on the list since they joined MLS in 2017 and 2018 respectively.)

NYCFC players named to the 22 Under 22 list

2015
#7 Kwadwo Poku

2016
#2 Jack Harrison
#13 Ronald Matarrita

2017
#3 Jack Harrison
#6 Yangel Herrera
#16 Ronald Matarrita

2018
#4 Yangel Herrera
#8 Jesus Medina

2019
#6 Valentin Castellanos
#12 James Sands

2020
#6 Sands, James

2021
#3 James Sands
#19 Thiago

2022
#3 Talles Magno
#16 Thiago

Still, we’re skeptical of lists like this one. The 22 Under 22 (it was 24 Under 24 from 2010 to 2017) is mostly a vibe, a power ranking by anonymous media pundits and “MLS Player Department staff,” to use the official wording. If you want to peek behind the curtain, MLS.com writer Tom Bogert gets into the reasonings behind the selections.

Going back over the archives, we see that some of the picks were astute: Naming Alphonso Davies to the #1 spot in in 2018 was the crystal-clear choice. But Ricardo Pepi getting the #1 ranking in 2020 and Diego Rossi getting in 2019 feel a little more suspect, and maybe the product of MLS groupthink.

No matter: Big ups to Talles Magno, who was also named to the Best XI: 2022 22 Under 22, and Thiago. The two join a long and growing list of young players who have done NYCFC proud.