NEW YORK — While there are a variety of factors contributing to New York City FC’s futile start to the season, a paucity of goals in the opening five matches is the leading cause.
Consequently, news from training Wednesday was disconcerting with City vying for their first win of the season this weekend. Forward Alexandru Mitriță, with one of the four finishes this season, suffered a rib injury Saturday during the latter stages of the 0-0 draw with Montreal.
The designated player participated in a light workout Wednesday with head trainer Kevin Christen. Although an official injury list has not been posted by the club, the Romanian’s availability for Saturday’s match at Minnesota United is uncertain.
“Mitri, he has pain in the ribs but today he’s much, much better,” head coach Dome Torrent said. “It’s not easy because I remember at Bayern Munich, Arjen Robben missed one or two months with that because the pain is not easy to play with.”
Meanwhile, Brazilian import Héber, coming off a 27-minute shift in his debut Saturday against the Impact, departed Wednesday’s session prior to a 40-minute, intrasquad scrimmage to nurse a sprained ankle suffered in training less than a week ago.
“It’s not good for us because he’s not in the best form right now – he’s not fit,” said Torrent, the former assistant at Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester City. “He can play 40 or 45 minutes maybe – I don’t know exactly. We have two days before the game.”
Maxi Moralez, who produced nine goals and 18 assists in 2018, has missed the last two matches with a calf ailment. Moralez trained full on Wednesday but may also be limited when City helps Minnesota inaugurate their new stadium, Allianz Field.
“At the moment, Maxi is 70-75 percent,” Torrent said. “It’s not good news for us because I’m looking to play with these three players – Maxi, Mitri and Héber. Every single player is important for us but everybody knows these players are important players when we have the ball.”
Second-year forward, Taty Castellanos, was sensational in the team scrimmage on Wednesday with a hat trick but has failed to score in a regular match since his debut last August 4 against Vancouver.
“It’s about the confidence,” Torrent told Pro Soccer USA. “They are much better than they believe.”
Despite the early season woes, center back Maxime Chanot has faith in the club’s goal scoring future.
“I’m not worried that we haven’t scored like last season – sometimes football is like that,” the vice-captain told Pro Soccer USA. “Maybe we are in a bad moment but I know inside the group and inside the club we all believe in ourselves and I’m sure the goals will come – I’m sure.”