Argentine attacker Maximiliano Moralez and Costa Rican winger Rodney Wallace are the latest additions. Both acquisitions were announced Wednesday, the same day the NYCFC players already in preseason camp dropped a 2-0 decision to the Red Bulls in Arizona.
Moralez, 29, comes to MLS in a transfer from Mexican club Leon and has played in Italy and Russia as well as his native country. Wallace, 28, signed as a free agent after NYCFC swung a trade with the Timbers to get his MLS rights. He left the league after helping Portland win its first MLS Cup title in 2015 and returns as a free agent following stints with FC Arouca in Portugal and Sport Recife in Brazil.
Two Argentine league titles and four seasons in Serie A preceded a move to Mexico last year for Moralez, who at 5-foot-3 and 120 pounds is an elusive and bothersome foe for larger, stronger opponents. “Maxi is dynamic, he’s direct and he’s very good in one v. one situations,” said NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira in a team press release. “He can create chances and can score goals. He’s a really creative player who can make an assist – he can create something from nothing and I believe that our fans will love him.”
He joins Andrea Pirlo and David Villa as Designated Players on the NYCFC roster and takes the slot occupied by Frank Lampard for the club’s first two MLS seasons.
Wallace returns after taking his first foray outside of MLS last year. The native of San Jose, Costa Rica, moved to the United States as a youth and played college ball at Maryland. He was drafted by D.C. United in the 2000 SuperDraft first round and moved to Portland after two seasons. In five seasons with the Timbers he scored 16 goals and registered 17 assists in 120 games. He scores twice during Portland’s run to the 2015 MLS Cup.
His stay in Portugal lasted only two months and he played little at Recife, which released him last year. By offering him a new contract prior to his departing the league, Portland retained his MLS rights. NYCFC traded $50,000 in targeted allocation money and $75,000 in general allocation money to secure his rights.
“Rodney is a quality player who can play as a winger, as a left-back or as a left midfielder,” said Vieira. “He’s really good with the ball and he knows how to win the championship as he did it with Portland. He will bring his experience to this squad which is great for us – I’m really looking forward to him coming because I believe that he’s one of the top players in this league.”
On Tuesday NYCFC announced it had acquired Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera on loan.