by Christian Araos
New York City FC signed the Costa Rican international Rodney Wallace after trading targeted and general allocation money to the Portland Timbers for his right of first refusal, the team said on Wednesday.
Wallace, 28, is a U.S. citizen who was a free agent after playing nine months for Brazilian club Sport Recife. NYCFC traded $75,000 of general allocation money and $50,000 of targeted allocation money to the Timbers for his MLS rights. Wallace was a key part of the Timbers’ 2015 MLS Cup-winning season making 32 appearances as well as starting all five playoff games that year. Wallace said he was attracted to NYCFC for their style of play.
“It’s a great honor to be an NYCFC player – it’s a dream come true to get this done and be here with such a great organization and a good team,” Wallace told NYCFC.com. “I want to win trophies with this club, I want to come here and add to a bigger piece. We all want to achieve big things together and I’m just really happy to be here and to work towards that. I’m looking forward to playing in front of our fans, I’m going to give it 100% and work hard to compete for trophies and hopefully we can celebrate together at the end of the year.”
Wallace is a left-sided player who can play on the wing or at fullback. He is capable of scoring, but more often tries to combine with others in the attack. His time with the Timbers makes him familiar with a possession-oriented 4-3-3 system which could help him quickly adapt to Coach Patrick Vieira’s similar system. Vieira said Wallace’s experience in Portland could help City fulfill their ambitions.
“He’s really good with the ball and he knows how to win the championship as he did it with Portland,” Vieira said.“He will bring his experience to this squad which is great for us – I’m really looking forward to him coming because I believe that he’s one of the top players in this league.”
Wallace has made 17 appearances for Costa Rica and appeared in its 4–0 victory over the U.S. last November. He adds to City’s options on the wing which had included Khiry Shelton, Jack Harrison, the rookie Jonathan Lewis, the new signing Miguel Camargo and the unsigned draft pick Jalen Brown. Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said Wallace will bring a ‘winning mentality’ to the club.
“He is a player that will add depth to our squad, both as a left winger and left-back,” Reyna said. “He’s an international player with Costa Rica, he knows the league and won MLS Cup, but most important for us, is his desire to want to come to our club. We’re really excited to have him – at 28, he’s coming into the prime of his career and we think playing with us will get him back into his national team.”