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Is Santi Rodríguez returning to NYCFC because of Apple TV?

MLS Season Pass could deserve some of the credit for Rodríguez agreeing to a long-term contract with New York City after his six-week South American rumspringa

Missed you | Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy

Did Santiago Rodríguez sign a long-term contract with New York City FC that will keep the midfielder in New York City? According to respected journalist César Luis Merlo, the 23-year-old reached a deal with the club last week that will see him return to NYCFC after his loan from Montevideo City Torque lapsed at the end of December.

When the rumor surfaced earlier today, you could hear the collective sigh of relief from the NYCFC faithful. New York City are not only undergoing the most comprehensive rebuild in club history, they are experiencing an unprecedented exodus of talent that has seen more high-quality players leave than any other team “in MLS analytical history,” to quote the Outfield. While sporting director David Lee has made some intriguing signings by adding goalkeeper Matt Freese, 18-year-old defender Mitja Ilenič, and left-back Braian Cufré from RCD Mallorca, those three and the club’s new players don’t come close to offsetting the loss of Maxi MoralezAlexander CallensCacha AcevedoSean JohnsonHéber, and Anton Tinnerholm – or failing to replace Taty Castellanos last year. 

But if Rodríguez has indeed signed a long-term contract, then NYCFC are back in the fight. Whew.

Which begs the question: Did he really leave?

Rodríguez’s loan certainly expired on December 31, 2022, and he was known to be in talks with both City Torque, his home club, and Esporte Clube Bahia in Brazil. (NYCFC, City Torque, and Bahia are all owned by City Football Group, the parent company of Manchester City.) And Rodríguez was recalled to City Torque in early January – he featured prominently in their opening game of Uruguay’s Primera División last Sunday, converting a penalty then earning a red card in the 98th minute in a 1-1 draw at home. Talk about making a strong first impression.

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