New York City FC lost to the Philadelphia Union tonight, but for all of the ups and downs of watching the play unfold, one of the most interesting facets of the game happened off the field: Talles Magno wasn’t on the lineup card.
The Designated Player wasn’t in the Starting XI, and he wasn’t on the bench. He wasn’t in the injury report released by the club. He simply wasn’t in the building.
To get an idea of how out of character that is for Talles Magno, the forward has featured in every one of NYCFC’s MLS league games this season before tonight — save the May 31 match against FC Cincinnati, when he was sidelined with a slight knock. He was in the official NYCFC injury report that day.
But tonight? He was nowhere to be seen. When head coach Nick Cushing was asked about Talles Magno in the post-game press conference, he elegantly sidestepped the question.
Could it be that Cushing scrubbed Talles Magno from the lineup after a series of sub-par performances? The technically gifted winger might be the team’s third-highest-paid player, but he has just three goals in those 22 appearances, and hasn’t scored since April 22. More to the point, he missed some big chances in recent weeks when a goal or two could have made a significant impact on the team’s record. Maybe a time-out is just what the 21-year-old needs to rediscover his form.
Or maybe Talles Magno is on his way out of NYCFC. The transfer window is wide open, his contract runs through 2026, and now is the ideal time to shop around a forward that Transfermarkt values at €15 million. He might be a disappointment at NYCFC, but he could find a role at the right club in Europe or South America.
New York City signed Talles Magno in 2021, reportedly signing him at a discount from under the noses of Real Madrid, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC, and Paris Saint-Germain because of the stars aligning thanks to relegation worries, money, COVID, and the timing of the European transfer window. (You can read all about it at The Athletic.) It wasn’t because the team needed a left winger. Remember, that was the breakout year for Taty Castellanos, who likes to float around the left.
It was because it was too good a deal to pass up, the designer coat that’s marked down so much you buy it even though you’re not sure you want it, or that it really fits you. Sometimes a bargain is a trap.
Which brings us to the point of this Instant Reaction: Did we already see the last of Talles Magno?
Was his substitute appearance in last week’s 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew, when he came on in the 87th minute – and was given a team-low 4.0 rating from our readers – his swan song for New York City?
Talles Magno was missing from tonight’s lineup, but he wasn’t missing from the lineup. For the Nth game this season, NYCFC created chances but couldn’t finish, but his absence didn’t haunt the game. Had he played, he would have fumbled his chances too.
The thing about an Irish goodbye is that you’re not sure it happened until later.
But you can sense it at the time.