In many cases, a team is only as strong as its experience. This theory is prevailing on the pitch for New York City FC in 2017. Even as the squad’s youth movement progresses, left winger Rodney Wallace is showing that veteran leadership is a vital piece of the puzzle.
Wallace, who joined the team Feb. 15, has stormed out of the gate with relentless energy for NYCFC (1-1-1). He has scored in each of the last two games, with his biggest highlight coming in City’s 1-1 tie against the Montreal Impact on March 18. Wallace never gave up on a rejected Alex Ring attempt as he chased down the rebound and scored, lifting City’s supporters at Yankee Stadium to their feet.
The 28-year-old returned to the United States for his eighth season in MLS after playing in Portugal and Brazil last year. The move has paid off for NYCFC, who may not have counted on this much production from a last-minute signing.
“He’s a team player,” head coach Patrick Vieira told Newsday earlier this month. “He gives everything when he is on the field.”
Wallace brings an added layer of experience to the squad with most of his professional career spent in the league. Before a year abroad, Wallace won an MLS Cup with the Portland Timbers in 2015.
Returning from a week of World Cup qualifiers with the Costa Rican national team, Wallace will take the field alongside his NYCFC teammates against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday in the Bronx.