CLUB: New York City FC
YEARS PRO: 3
Acquired this winter on loan from Manchester City, Yangel Herrera’s name isn’t brought up often enough in discussions of the most promising players in MLS. It should be. The 20-year-old Venezuelan international might have the highest ceiling of any player in the league.
Athletic enough to cover a ton of ground in central midfield, savvy enough to understand how to read the game from the middle and skilled enough to dictate the tempo for NYCFC, Herrera has been excellent under the tutelage of head coach Patrick Vieira. He was one of the breakout stars of the Under-20 World Cup in May and, when healthy, has supplanted Andrea Pirlo as an automatic starter for the Cityzens. While he’s a huge talent, there is a question about how long Herrera will stick with NYCFC. Sister club Manchester City could call him back follow this year, perhaps to loan him out to another club in the City Football Group.
What the technical staffers say:
"He’s special … Maybe because he’s Venezuelan and plays a No. 6/8 role people don’t notice him, but he’s a huge talent, tough kid, covers a lot of ground … tremendous upside, great get for City … lucky to have Vieira, who played his role, tutoring him … one of the players of the U-20 World Cup … people will take notice even though he’s so young … Dynamic, covers ground, covers gaps that can open up when NYCFC get into their buildup play and knows when to slow down the play, or making a good decision on when to go into a hard tackle and win the ball – those are dangerous areas and if you don’t get it right, you’re in trouble. So for a young player he’s got that savviness, recognizing when to win the ball, when to delay… Helps his team by running for others … understands his role well for such a young age, makes him very valuable to his team … plays to his strengths, plays the simple possession pass when it’s there, doesn’t try stuff … effective… when you’re a young guy with all that energy and liveliness, you have to learn to recognize moments in games when you need to hold your shape, cover for attacking teammates … wants to show his quality but with a bit more experience he’ll realize when to manage the game … has displaced Pirlo at his position, so you know his coach has confidence in him."