Players to Watch at the Florida Cup
The four clubs participating in the Florida Cup represent the best in South America and MLS, and the following players have won numerous titles and individual achievements over the past decade. Here’s who will make the biggest impact at this year’s Florida Cup...
New York City FC
Birthplace: Granadero Baigorria, Argentina
Maxi Moralez has been one of the most dynamic playmakers in MLS since his arrival in 2017, racking up 45 assists in three seasons. With impeccable vision and precise passing, Moralez finished the 2019 season with a league-leading 20 assists and earned a spot on the MLS Best XI. He was also named Team MVP and played in the MLS All-Star Game against Atletico Madrid at Exploria Stadium last July. Prior to NYCFC, Moralez appeared 109 times for Atalanta in the Italian Serie A and had 16 goals and 17 assists. As a youth international, he won the Silver Ball at the U-20 World Cup after scoring 4 goals to lead Argentina to the title.
Birthplace: Colorado do Oeste, Brazil
Héber scored 15 goals in his first season at NYCFC, earning Newcomer of the Year at the club. The Brazilian striker impressed early, displaying the type of poised finishing the club needed following the departure of David Villa. After his youth career at Figueirense, Héber spent several seasons on loan with Coimbra, playing for CRAC, Avaí, and Paysandu in Brazil before joining Alashkert in Armenia. During Alashkert’s title winning season in 2015-16, Héber led the league in scoring with 16 goals. Before joining NYCFC, he scored 35 goals for HNK Rijeka in one and a half seasons, leading the club to the group stages of the Europa League and winning the Yellow Shirt Award as the Croatian League’s best player.
Birthplace: Mendoza, Argentina
Valentín Castellanos emerged in 2019 as one of the most promising young players in MLS, recording 11 goals and 11 assists in his first full season with NYCFC. The 21-year-old forward makes dangerous runs around the goal and is creative in tight spaces. His performance in 2019 earned him the opportunity to represent Argentina at the U-23 level this past fall. Before joining NYCFC in July 2018, Castellanos played for CA Torque of Uruguay on loan from Universidad de Chile and helped the club earn promotion to the First Division.