NEW YORK — At some point, Dome Torrent was going to engage in questions about the loss of New York City FC’s captain and leading goal scorer, David Villa.
Torrent, conducting his first preseason with the club, did just that during his first media conference call on Thursday.
“It is not easy to replace a player like David Villa – he has a name in soccer, he has performance, he has goals,” the second-year manager said. “We’re awaiting a new striker in one or two weeks – if it’s possible.”
While Torrent failed to ensure that a quality striker would be obtained, he shortened the procurement timeline as the dialogue progressed.
“I expect in three or four days we will find the right striker because everybody knows we need something in our forwards,” Torrent said. “David normally scored 19 or 20 goals.”
Villa scored a team-leading 15 goals in 2018, his lowest output in a four-year career for the expansion side.
Torrent, who coached his first game with NYCFC on June 24, 2018, following the exit of Patrick Vieira, did not reveal from where a striker could emerge, but he indicated the target forward will have to be the proper fit.
“It’s not that easy to find a striker right now,” Torrent said. “The best for us is to be patient to find the right player. We need a striker, everybody knows – but we need to sign the right player. That is the reason why we are in the moment trying to find the right player to join us.”
While searching the landscape for a goalscorer, Torrent lauded the versatility and ability of recent Romanian transfer, forward Alexandru Mitriță, who scored in his debut – a 1-1 draw versus AIK of Sweden.
Mitriță is currently absent from the second phase of preseason camp in Orlando, Fla., while his international paperwork is processed.
“He’s a little bit similar to (Philippe) Coutinho,” Torrent said. “Mitri has the quality to play the left side, the No. 10 – even the False 9. The most important thing for us, we have a new player who has quality to play and shine with Maxi (Moralez).
“In the end it depends on whether we are able to sign the right player – the new striker. When we have the whole team then I need to think about the best way to play. Maxi, Jesus (Medina), Taty (Valentin Castellanos) and Ismael (Tajouri-Shradi) I think they are capable of scoring many, many goals for us.”
And Torrent feels strongly that finishers distinguish teams in the playoff fixtures.
“If you have the right forwards you have much possibility to win the Cup,” Torrent said.
The extension of a tease from the head coach – a necessary attacking addition may be on the Bronx horizon.