New York City FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said that he foresees the consummation of a hybrid second team for the club by 2020.
Until then, he will be forced into maneuvers like the pair of first team loans completed this week in order to gain valuable professional minutes for little-used first team members.
James Sands has joined Louisville City FC of the United Soccer League through September 1 while Saad Abdul-Salaam enlists in another USL side, Phoenix Rising, for the remainder of the season.
Sands, the initial Homegrown player signed by the club last June, joins his former U17 U.S. National Team Coach John Hackworth at Louisville City. With Sands as a starting central defender under Hackworth, the U17’s advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup last summer.
Sands only regular season appearance for New York City was last September 10 against Colorado as a substitute for the since departed Designated Player, Andrea Pirlo. The Rye, NY native made a 14-minute substitute appearance in the 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup on June 6 and played the full 90-minutes in at the annual MLS Homegrown game in Atlanta on July 31.
Beginning this Saturday against Nashville, Sands will have the opportunity to compete in five matches for Louisville City before the loan expires. Louisville City, a franchise that launched a year prior to NYCFC in 2014, are the defending champions of the second-tier USL.
Abdul-Salaam was acquired before the season in a trade with Sporting KC for Khiry Shelton. He had played only three minutes in the previous 15 matches for New York City due in great part to the consistent performances of Anton Tinnerholm at right back.
The former SKC Defender of the Year (2016) has made four appearances with three starts and recorded back-to-back assists in weeks three and four against Orlando City (2-0) and New England (2-2).
NYCFC retains the right to recall either Sands or Abdul-Salaam at any point during the MLS regular season, subject to MLS roster compliance guidelines.