The stinging memories of Man City loanees Shay Facey and Angelino struggling in NYCFC’s first MLS season have yet to fade away completely, but there’s reason to believe young Venezuelan Yangel Herrera can fare better.
NYCFC announced Tuesday Herrera, 19, has been loaned from Manchester City just two weeks after the club acquired him in a transfer from Atletico Venezuela for an undisclosed fee. He scored three goals in 30 games during the 2016 season for Atletico, which he joined in January of last year from Monagas.
Assuming he adjusts to the league, Herrera can shore up the defensive midfield spot that has been a problem for NYCFC for most of its MLS existence. For this, he has the perfect mentor in head coach Patrick Vieira, whose marauding midfield play for Arsenal, Inter Milan, Manchester City and France earned him three Premier League titles, three Serie A crowns, five FA Cups, a World Cup, and a European Championship.
“Although Yangel is just starting out on his career, we believe he will make an impact in Major League Soccer once he’s settled into a new country and has adapted to our system of play,” said Vieira in a team press release. “He’s a tactically intelligent midfielder who is strong in the tackle and reads the game well. Yangel also has good passing range and spatial awareness, which is crucial for a player in his position.”
Much renown stems from his play the past two weeks while captaining the Venezuelan U-20s to a third-place finish in South American qualifying for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the nation’s best placing in that competition since 1954. He scored two goals in seven U-20 appearances and prior to the competition debuted for the senior team in a World Cup qualifier against Brazil. Last summer he was named to Venezuela’s squad for the Copa America Centenario but stayed on the bench in all four games.
“I’m very happy to take this next step in my career,” he said to the team’s Web site. “To have the opportunity to play with such a high caliber of players is very exciting and to join a team that has a good football philosophy is very important to me.
“I’m looking forward to playing under Patrick Vieira as he’s someone who played my position and I know I’ll be able to learn a lot from him. I want to absorb all the good things from Patrick and the other players.”
Since leaving MLS after the 2015 season, Facey and Agelino have continued their vagabond ways. Facey, a centerback, has gone back out on loan to Rotherham and Heerenveen and has yet to play a first-game game for Man City. Angelino, who has made three appearances for City, is on loan to Spanish club Mallorca.