Maxi Moralez Returns to NYCFC, Boosts Playoff Bid
New York City FC announced on Tuesday that they have brought back a beloved figure in their club's history by signing Maxi Moralez, who recently departed from the Argentine top-flight team Racing Club.
After an absence of eight months, Moralez's return to the Cityzens has been finalized as a free-agent move. He has signed a contract that extends through the 2024 MLS season.
Maxi Moralez had previously been an integral part of NYCFC from 2017 to 2022, where he earned a reputation as one of the most accomplished No. 10s in the history of MLS. Notably, he played a pivotal role in helping the team secure their inaugural trophy, the MLS Cup in 2021. However, he left the club in late December to rejoin his childhood club.
Commenting on Moralez's return, NYCFC's sporting director David Lee expressed his enthusiasm, stating, "We are thrilled to welcome Maxi back home to New York. We are obviously extremely familiar with the type of player and man Maxi is, and the impact Maxi has had on this club both on-and-off the field."
Lee continued, "After a stint in Argentina, Maxi wanted to return home, and we were very happy to facilitate a move back to New York. Maxi is a leader, knows the league well and thrives in the high-pressure moments of the biggest matches. We have a run of extremely important games ahead of us and adding a player of his caliber and experience will be invaluable for our roster."
During his initial tenure with NYCFC, Moralez showcased his skills with 26 goals and 69 assists in 162 regular-season games. Now, his return could potentially revive a strong midfield partnership with players like James Sands and Keaton Parks. The team's midfield strength is further bolstered by key players like Alfredo Morales and Santiago Rodríguez.
Reflecting on his comeback to the city, Moralez expressed his feelings, stating, "I felt like it was a debt I had to repay, being able to fulfill my family's dream of playing for my boyhood club once again. Now I am focused on adapting myself to the team as quickly as possible and helping Nick [Cushing, NYCFC head coach] and his staff support and develop this young squad. To the fans, who have always had my back since day one, I can’t wait to be reunited."
At 36 years old, Moralez's return aligns with NYCFC's focus on enhancing their attacking prowess through their summer transfer activities. They have also signed Costa Rican international forward Alonso Martínez, in addition to U22 Initiative forwards Julián Fernández and Mounsef Bakrar.
As NYCFC aims to secure a spot in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs, their current position in the Eastern Conference standings is 13th. They are trailing four points behind the playoff threshold with 10 games left to play.