NYCFC’s Talles Magno is one of the best dribblers in MLS

Talles Magno’s increased role has spearheaded New York City FC’s success this season, as his introduction into the starting lineup has added another dimension to an already elite attack. MLS has seen an injection of young South American talent as teams look to develop young players and turn a profit. Many of them have failed to live up to their hype, however, Magno has seemingly exceeded expectations in just over a year since its debut in late May.

Magno did not shine from day one. It actually took him 12 appearances to score a well-taken volley in a 3-3 draw against FC Dallas. He showed glimpses of talent last year, however, he never fully broke into the squad and was resigned to a bench spot for the most part. That being said, he still scored one of the most important goals in NYCFC history – he knocked the winner of the Eastern Conference Final off the bench to send the Pigeons to the MLS Cup.

Following the departure of Jesús Medina, a starting position was up for grabs. Magno slotted in on the left side and hit the ground running in 2022, scoring three goals in the club’s CONCACAF Champions League semi-final before being named Young Player of the Tournament and being placed in the best eleven of the tournament.

Magno has quickly become a key player for the team, starting 14 of 15 MLS games this season. He has scored three goals, assisted five more and is one of – if not there – best young talents in MLS. What makes it so good and where is the room for improvement? Let’s unpack.

Makes me wanna dribble dribble, you know

Magno is a prime dribbler, and for good reason. He ranks in the 88th percentile of attacking midfielders and wingers in successful dribbles (2.38 per 90) and attempted dribbles (4.45 per 90), according to Fb ref. He averages 8.48 progressive carries with a total distance of 162.13 yards carried per 90 minutes, which puts him in the 93rd percentile.

His ability to get out of tight spaces and create moves out of seemingly impossible situations is incredible for the team and fans, and a nightmare for defenders. Teams used double and triple shifts at Talles Magno. This extra attention often leads to fouls – on average, Tales Magno suffers 3.11 fouls per 90, which puts him in the 96th percentile in MLS.

Magno Tales Dribble

Dribbling Per 90 mins percentile
Dribbling Per 90 mins percentile
Dribbling attempts 4.45 88%
Dribbles completed 2.38 88%
Carries into the penalty area 1.89 98%
Throw-in inside the penalty area 7.44 99%

For all of Talles Magno’s skills, he’s not immune to the wrong touch, especially as teams have started throwing multiple defenders his way. It averages 2.68 control errors and 3.23 takedowns per 90, placing it in the bottom 21st percentile and eighth percentile, respectively. Considering how many dribbles he attempts, the high turnover rate is neither surprising nor concerning.

Magno’s talent as a dribbler proves how good he is inside the box. He is in the 98th percentile for carries inside the penalty area with 1.89 per 90, and he is in the 99th percentile for touches inside the penalty area with 7.44 per 90 minutes. Magno’s added goals, which measures a player’s contributions on both sides of the ball, is 1.82 according to American Soccer Analysis. That puts him sixth overall in MLS and fourth among all forwards. Magno is already one of the best offenses in the league, as the stats show.

Finishing, passage: Work in progress

Magno has scored three times in MLS this season so far: a header against CF Montreal, a left-footed strike against Columbus Crew and, his most impressive goal to date, a right-footed volley against Colorado Rapids. He’s an inconsistent finisher and has also missed his fair share of quality chances – the close-range shot that was saved in the second leg of the CCL Semi-Finals is the most notable. He’s also capable of quality striking, as his long-range effort that hit the woodwork against Minnesota United and his final volley against Colorado showed.

Statistically, he is not a good finisher with 41.5% of his shots on target. His expected goals per 90 is 0.32 meaning he is slightly underperforming in front of goal averaging 0.30 goals per 90 minutes.

Passage of Talles Magno

pass Per 90 mins percentile
pass Per 90 mins percentile
Passes attempted 37.62 82%
Passes completed 30:30 82%
Goes to the penalty box 1.46 68%
key rings 1.77 68%

Similar to his shooting, Magno’s passing is slightly inconsistent. He often puts too little weight on the ball, giving defenders room to pounce on his passes. Statistically, Talles Magno is an average to slightly above average passer, completing 30.30 passes on his average of 37.62 per 90, giving him a completion rate of 80.6% and placing him in 82nd percentile. He averages 1.46 passes inside the penalty area and 1.77 key passes, both of which rank him in the 68th percentile in MLS.

Magno is already one of the best dribblers in the league at just 20 years old. His rapid growth within a year made an $8 million fee the club paid for him money well spent. With Taty Castellanos leaving the club seemingly only a matter of time, Magno is set to play the starring role in NYCFC’s attack. Given Magno’s growth, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him follow the path set by Castellanos and start in eight figures after making a name for himself at NYCFC.

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