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2023 Player Preview: Gabriel Pereira

The Brazilian winger enjoyed a strong debut season and could be poised for even bigger things as part of a remade NYCFC attack.

Hang loose.
Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy

Gabriel Pereira

Age: 21
Position: Right Wing, Right Midfield
2022 MLS Season: 29 games, 17 starts, 1580 minutes, 9 goals, 4 assists
Key Stat: His five goals scored after the departure of Taty Castellanos led the team in the post-Taty era (OptaJack)

What went right in 2022:

Gabriel Pereira made a seamless transition to MLS. Pereira was eased into things at first after arriving at New York City FC as a U22 Initiative signing from Corinthians in his native Brazil. He was used mostly as an impact sub over the course of his first dozen or so matches with NYCFC, and Pereira proved effective off the bench, scoring four goals and eliciting what many consider the best call of Joe Tolleson’s NYCFC commentary career with this banger on the road in Cincinnati.

The Brazilian took a bigger leap once striker Taty Castellanos left for Girona FC in late July. From that point on, Pereira became the entrenched starter on the right wing and stepped his performances up a notch, chipping in five more goals while also adding four assists, ultimately helping propel NYCFC to a surprise run back into the Eastern Conference Final.

What to improve:

For Pereira, that will mean contributing even more goals and assists to help compensate for the production lost through the departures of Maxi Moralez and Santiago Rodriguez. It will require avoiding a sophomore slump and instead becoming a week-in, week-out threat that will successfully link up with the likes of Talles Magno and whomever slots in at right-back or right wingback. (Tayvon Gray? Mitja Ilenič?)

Pereira’s passing accuracy left something to be desired in 2022, as his 74.2% pass completion rate was towards the bottom among NYCFC outfield players. More to the point, will the rest of MLS wise up to the left-footed player’s proclivity to cut in from his position on the right to attempt shots with that lethal left?

What to expect in 2023:

First and foremost the player needs to get his visa issues resolved and actually join up with a drastically remade team ahead of the 2023 season. Once he does, it’s fair to expect Pereira to become an even bigger part of the rebuilt NYCFC attack. His performance in 2022 was highly impressive considering his paltry output during his two seasons with Corinthians (just two goals and two assists in around 1,500 minutes), and he should go down as a legitimate snub after not making the MLS 22 Under 22 list.

It might be harder for him to dance through the opposing defenses this coming season thanks to the fluctuating state of the NYCFC roster, and the increased familiarity across MLS with his play. However, he seemed to keep improving throughout 2022, and has a clear knack for creating chances as he was right near the top of the NYCFC leaderboard for shot-creating actions over the course of the season. Expectations should be high that Pereira will play a big part in easing some of the pain caused by the many departures this offseason.

2023 NYCFC Player Previews

• Tony Alfaro
• Malte Amundsen
• Luis Barraza
• Maxime Chanot
• Maximo Carrizo
• Braian Crufré
• Matt Freese
• Chris Gloster
• Tayvon Gray
• Justin Haak
• Mitja Ilenič
• Alfredo Morales
• Kevin O’Toole
• Samuel “Kwaku” Owusu
• Keaton Parks
• Matías Pellegrini
• Talles Magno
• Thiago
• Thiago Martins