MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

NYCFC's Uruguay youth int'l Santiago Rodriguez available to debut this weekend

Santiago Rodriguez signs with NYCFC

NYCFC fans may not have to wait long to see new attacker and highly-rated Uruguay youth international Santiago Rodriguez.

The 21-year-old winger was acquired on loan from Montevideo City Torque through the 2022 season. And, although the deal was announced on June 9 after the Primary Transfer Window closed, the move was agreed and filed prior to the window closing, head coach Ronny Deila revealed. He's available for selection for NYCFC against the New England Revolution on Saturday (7:30 pm ET | MLS Live on ESPN+).

"He's ready, everything is ready for him to be in the team," Deila told media on a virtual press conference Thursday.

Rodriguez is a rising attacking talent, representing Uruguay at all three major youth levels (U-17, U-20 and U-23). He played alongside NYCFC's Nicolas Acevedo and LAFC duo Brian Rodriguez and Francisco Ginella at the 2019 U-20 World Cup. At the club level he joined City Football Group’s Montevideo City Torque in 2020 from Nacional. Between the two, Rodriguez had 13 goals and 16 assists in 61 matches.

He featured in South America's top two continental tournaments, playing in 11 games for Nacional in the Copa Libertadores and featured six times for Montevideo City Torque in this season’s Copa Sudamericana.

Rodriguez is the latest rising talent to join NYCFC over the last few months, following Brazilian duo Talles Magno and Thiago Andrade. Magno made his debut in the club's last game three weeks ago, coming off the bench in their win over LAFC, while Andrade is awaiting his debut.

"I'm very happy with them," Deila said. "We have an amazing group here, they are already smiling and enjoying themselves. They're at different stages. Talles is coming back from an operation, Thiago hadn't trained with a team before he came here for maybe two months. It's been difficult for them to get going but we've had some really good training weeks, a lot of talks to get them into our system and understand how we run things."

The trio gives Deila plenty of options in attack alongside early-season starters Taty Castellanos, Jesus Medina, Maxi Moralez and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. Heber will return from injury this summer as well.

"I have high hopes for [Rodriguez, Magno and Andrade], of course, but we have to be patient," Deila said. "They're young players coming to a new environment, new country. They need to adapt to us and our style. But the depth in the squad is very good. It's a very good situation for me to look at the bench to see what kind of options we have."