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2024 NYCFC Player Previews: Agustín "Trapito" Ojeda

NYCFC poached the crown jewel of Racing's academy, but is the 19-year-old ready to be an everyday starter?

NYCFC winger Augustín Trapito Ojeda in 2024 preseason training | Courtesy
Name: Agustín Ojeda
Age: 19
Position: Left Wing, Right Wing
Key Stat: $7 million – that's the reported fee NYCFC sporting director David Lee paid to sign him

New York City FC lacked offensive firepower in 2023. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any fan who didn’t feel that way, as the Pigeons only found the back of the net on 35 occasions in 34 matches.

That poor output marked the third-worst goal tally of any team in MLS that year, and served as the primary driver for NYCFC missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Enter Agustín Ojeda, a 19-year-old from Rosario, Argentina. “Trapito,” as he’s known, was signed from Racing Club, the historic Argentinian powerhouse that was once home to Lautaro Martinez, Rodrigo De Paul, and NYCFC's very own Maxi Moralez. While still a teenager, the winger had shown real promise under the tutelage of his former gaffer, Fernando Gago, despite only appearing in 24 matches thus far in his young professional career.

Impressive pedigree

Before we even get into what Ojeda is like as a player, I think it’s worth noting the footballing heritage on display in that previous paragraph.

You’re telling me New York City signed an Argentine winger from a club as historic as Racing, that played under the guidance of a former Real Madrid star, who was born in the same town as Messi?

I’m not sure I can think of a footballing environment that can produce a more talented player than that. It's like life giving you lemons, water, sugar, ice cubes, and a glass before telling you to make lemonade — you just usually don’t have that much going for you.

But, of course, Agustín is still a kid. So, let's try not to put too much pressure on young shoulders just yet.

As a player, Ojeda is a pacy direct winger, with a ball that appears glued to his right foot as he weaves almost violently through defenders. But honestly, I can only make that assessment personally through a few highlight videos and what I’ve read online - he’s only played 1,184 professional minutes, after all.

What to expect in 2024

It’s hard to say exactly what Ojeda’s involvement will be for NYCFC right off the bat because of how much depth the club already has on the wings. I know It’s odd to say this about a side that only averaged 1.03 goals per game last season, but bear with me.

Between Julián Fernández impressing at the tail end of last season after signing for $5 million last summer, and the talented Talles Magno staying at the club following a rejected $15 million bid from Bologna, Ojeda will have significant competition for playing time on the wings despite his own equally significant transfer fee. Plus, with the acquisition of Serbian striker Jovan Mijatović, that whole front line is looking pretty crowded.

This depth is huge for NYCFC, who desperately lacked that competition for places last season. But for Trapito, that will mean he’s not getting full 90s week in and week out.

This might not be the worst thing, however, as that level of expectation for immediate output isn’t always great for the psyche of a youngster. A slower integration to regular game time will allow him to grow as a player, and just contribute little by little along the way, rather than needing to carry his side to victory or be seen as a failure.

Still a kid

This time to find himself as a player and a person is something that’s been discussed already from his time at Racing, as there are some interesting stories surrounding his time at the club and his relationship with Gago. After breaking into the first team at just 17 years old, Trapito reportedly had some issues with attendance and punctuality, which ultimately saw him dropped from the first team for some time.

For more on that story, I highly recommend you check out Trey Fillmore’s piece for The Outfield, where he lays out his unique relationship with Gago, and his coming of age over the last few years. 

The kicker of it all, thankfully, is that Ojeda seems to be in a much more confident and mature place now, and hopefully, is ready to contribute in a big way when called upon this season - whenever that may be.