ORANGEBURG, N.Y. — Just when New York City FC added another player to the depth chart and returned one from injury, it lost three more to injury and suspension ahead of playing the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Saturday night.
Scottish winger Gary Mackay-Steven made his debut in the Hudson River Derby Sunday, playing the final six minutes of regulation and the nine additional minutes of stoppage time. While Mackay-Steven will likely be able to increase his minutes to 30-35 against the Rapids, NYCFC will be without fellow winger Ismael Tajouri-Shradi due to an ankle injury and the central tandem of Alex Ring and Maxime Chanot because of yellow card accumulation.
NYCFC coach Dome Torrent is confident there’s enough players at his disposal to fill the void.
James Sands has trained and appears set to return from a broken arm suffered against FC Cincinnati June 6. He’s featured as both a centerback and a No. 6 this season. Torrent said he could partner Sebastien Ibeagha with Alex Callens and has even more possibilities centrally.
But Tajouri-Shradi’s absence was felt dramatically in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls when NYCFC struggled to put away numerous first-half scoring chances.
“We thought he was able to play against Red Bulls, but the bad news for us is right now he’s not ready to play,” Torrent said.
On Sunday, NYCFC was also without Alexandru Mitrita, another one-v-one threat in the attacking third, though Torrent said the Romanian could return Saturday from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the last two league games — losses to the Portland Timbers and the Red Bulls.
Similar to Mackay-Steven against the Red Bulls, Torrent believes Mitrita is capable of playing “15-20 minutes” after returning to full training for the first time Wednesday.
“Maybe he’s in the bench. I have to think about that,” Torrent said. “Maybe he’s ready to play 15-20 minutes because physically he’s not ready to play 60 minutes.”