Agustín Ojeda finally, officially joined New York City FC, with the club announcing his signing as a U22 initiative player through 2028 with an option for 2029.
Reports of Ojeda moving from Racing Club de Avellaneda in Argentina to New York City emerged in mid-January, with his NYCFC transfer called a “done deal” by César Luis Merlo on January 19.
NYCFC will reportedly pay a $5.5 million transfer fee to Racing Club, which could grow to $7.5 million if Ojeda hits certain performance benchmarks.
Ojeda is a 19-year-old attacker from Rosario, Argentina who has mainly played on the left or right wings for Racing across his 24 career appearances with the club since 2022. He’s scored three goals and added two assists in those 24 appearances, and arrives expected to add more pace and directness to NYCFC’s attack.
The player nicknamed “Trapito” becomes the latest promising South American youngster to join New York City, arriving not long after his 20-year-old Argentine compatriot Julián Fernández. Agustín Ojeda’s signing also comes not long after NYCFC added Hannes Wolf, who joined on a free transfer from Borussia Mönchengladbach in the German Bundesliga.
Wolf and Ojeda have both played most of their professional minutes on the left side of their team’s formations, and Talles Magno’s transfer rumorshave quieted, so there are suddenly a wealth of options at Nick Cushing’s disposal as he looks to pick someone to function as a left winger or left midfielder.
While young and with limited professional experience under his belt in Argentina, Ojeda still carries an impressive pedigree. Argentine newspaper La Nacion has referred to him as the “jewel” of the Racing academy, and the club reportedly felt strongly enough about “Trapito” to sign him to a contract until 2026 which included a $16 million release clause.
Ojeda, as a player, looks to be a willing runner who excels with the ball at his feet. In the last 365 days, Ojeda averaged 3.37 successful take-ons per 90 minutes, along with 5.15 progressive carries per 90 minutes—those rates place him in the 95th and 93rd percentile among attacking midfielders and wingers in what soccer data site FBref.com considers the Men’s Next 14 competitions, which includes Argentina’s top-flight as well as MLS, Mexico’s Liga MX, and others.
For context, during the 2023 MLS season, some attacking players in the league who posted similar per-90 rates for successful take-ons and progressive carries include LAFC star and MLS Golden Boot winner Denis Bouanga (3.10 successful take-ons/90, 5.20 progressive carries/90), Minnesota United FC talisman Emanuel Reynoso (4.50 successful take-ons/90, 5.10 progressive carries/90), and LA Galaxy’s Riqui Puig (3.30 successful take-ons/90, 5.60 progressive carries/90).
Expecting a 19-year-old like Ojeda to walk into MLS and perform on par with three of the league’s top players feels unrealistic, but the Argentine teen’s limited sample size of performances with Racing Club show glimmers of what he might add to the NYCFC attack. Get ready for some purposeful dribbling and attempts to get behind opponents’s defensive lines once Trapito is up to speed and inserted into Nick Cushing’s NYCFC lineup rotations.
Acclimating to that NYCFC attack might be made easier by the presence of a rehabbing Maxi Moralez. Moralez was teammates with Ojeda at Racing Club in 2023 before Moralez returned to NYCFC, so Ojeda arrives in New York City with the added benefit of having a familiar face in his new team.
He also might not be the last attacking reinforcement added by NYCFC sporting director David Lee. Reports indicate that 18-year-old Serbian striker Jovan Mijatović of Red Star Belgrade could be sold to Manchester City for €10 million and then loaned to NYCFC, and there was also a report claiming Uruguayan striker Matías Arezo was close to a move to New York City.
Agustín Ojeda is another youngster added to what’s already one of the youngest rosters in MLS, but he might prove to be an attacking building block for 2024 and beyond.