Mata 24 u 24

Ronald Matarrita has placed 16th on the 24 Under 24 list.

The Costa Rican international is named on the list for the second consecutive year after he ranked 13th in 2016.

Ronald has endured a stop-start Sophomore season due to two injuries but returned to the matchday 18 as NYCFC drew 1-1 with Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

READ:Five Things We Learned from NYCFC vs. Houston Dynamo

That was his first appearance in a gameday squad since the 3-1 win over Minnesota at the end of June which was just his ninth game of the campaign but now it’s hoped his injury troubles are behind him going into the business end of 2017.

With 18 international caps to his name, Matarrita is seen as one of CONCACAF’s brightest defensive talents, thanks to his ability to contribute on both sides of the ball on the left wing.

NYCFC clinched an MLS Playoffs berth this weekend following the Houston tie and Atlanta United’s win over Montreal, meaning Ronald’s most significant contribution to the season could well be ahead of us in the final four games of the Regular Season and beyond.

To date, Matarrita has played for NYCFC 34 times, scoring one goal and creating eight assists.

This annual 24 Under 24 countdown from the MLS Editorial team aims to measure the best U-24 players in the league across five metrics (technical, soccer IQ, physical attributes, personality and potential).

Jack Harrison and Yangel Herrera were both also shortlisted in the initial 50-player list distributed by the league earlier this month.

We’ll find out if they’ve placed ahead of Matarrita in the coming 48 hours.

READ:Spotlight on Maxi Moralez vs. Houston Dynamo

What the technical staffers say:

"Certainly up there among the very best left backs in the league … great technique, will overlap, good passer, does his job and knows his role … everyone is looking for solid outside backs … has built a reputation in the league … if you can close him quickly and take away first option, can be exploited as NYCFC play out of the back … he’s today’s fullback. What you’re looking for in a fullback, he checks a lot of boxes. … He’s got the volume, got the energy, can support the attack but at the same time can stop a cross or defend the back post … pretty decent left foot … can get in trouble if he doesn’t process the information quickly enough and you use the sideline as a defender against him – can give up the ball … can get past you with a pass or a dribble … athletic enough that when you do beat him 1v1 or get in behind, he catches up, so you not only have to beat him but also make a decision quickly because of that recovery athleticism … intelligent wingback but he does rely on his ability to catch up with his speed … is he always facing the right way, is he anticipating the ball over the top or in the pocket? … knows he can usually make up that ground, but he’ll learn that doesn’t always work against intelligent wingers who put you in doubt, and hurt you if you’re not in the right position … has improved since he came in the league."

2017 List (So Far)

No.16. Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC)

No. 17. Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC)

No. 18. Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake)

No. 19.  Ballou Tabla (Montreal Impact)

No. 20. Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas)

No. 21Luciano Acosta (D.C. United)

No. 22. Jefferson Savarino (Real Salt Lake)

No. 23. Kekuta Manneh (Columbus Crew SC)

No. 24. Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution)

Evaluation Criteria

All MLS players aged 23 or younger before October 22, 2017 were eligible for consideration. The final list of 24 players is determined by a panel made up of top soccer media members and the editorial staff. The panel ranked the eligible players based on the following criteria:

  • Technical: first touch, dribbling, shooting, heading
  • Soccer IQ: positioning, reading game, situational understanding, tactical awareness
  • Physical Attributes: balance, agility, speed, endurance, strength, vertical leap
  • Personality: attitude, marketability, media savviness, charisma, intangibles
  • Potential: improvability, ceiling, national team potential, potential transfer value

50-Player Shortlist

Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas)
Luciano Acosta (D.C. United)
Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls)
Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United)
Artur (Columbus Crew SC)
Yamil Asad (Atlanta United)
Latif Blessing (Sporting Kansas City)
Emmanuel Boateng (LA Galaxy)
Alex Bono (Toronto FC)
Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United)
Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Marky Delgado (Toronto FC)
Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC)
Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo)
Jack Elliott (Philadelphia Union)
Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution)
Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers)
Kortne Ford (Colorado Rapids)
Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake)
Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas)
Julian Gressel (Atlanta United)
Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas)
Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids)
Ian Harkes (D.C. United)
Jack Harrison (New York City FC)
Yangel Herrera (New York City FC)
Cristian Higuita (Orlando City SC)
Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union)
Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC)
Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake)
Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes)
Kekuta Manneh (Columbus Crew SC)
Mauro Manotas (Houston Dynamo)
Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC)
Jimmy Medranda (Sporting Kansas City)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)
Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City)
Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas)
Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers)
Tommy Redding (Orlando City SC)
Carlos Rivas (Orlando City SC)
Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC)
Albert Rusnak (Real Salt Lake)
Jefferson Savarino (Real Salt Lake)
Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)
Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla (Montreal Impact)
Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes)
Hector Villalba (Atlanta United)
Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire)
Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

Matarrita Ranks 16th in 24 Under 24 List -