Day 11 since New York City FC’s announcement of Domenec Torrent as the new head coach will conclude without his presence at the team’s training facility – and the possibility that the former Manchester City assistant will be absent from this Sunday’s home encounter versus Toronto FC.
Torrent, named to replace Patrick Vieira on June 11, is in the process of obtaining a work visa. Sporting Director Claudio Reyna indicated last week that the club is attempting to expedite the process and is hopeful that his advent is imminent.
“With visas it’s not so easy in this country,” Finland international Alex Ring said. “The players have to stick together and show it on the pitch.”
In the meantime, caretaker Javier Perez guided his eighth training session with the assistance of goalkeeper coach Rob Vartughian and head athletic trainer Kevin Christen. Rodrigo Marion, the NYCFC Academy Director who lent a hand to Perez last week is currently in San Diego for the Development Academy playoffs.
In the absence of the permanent head coach, the internal leadership from veterans Ring, David Villa, Maxi Moralez, Sean Johnson are critical to the proper preparation of their squad.
Johnson, in his ninth season in Major League Soccer said: “To me that (internal leadership) doesn’t change game in and game out – no matter who is the manager. We’ve tried to carry that throughout the season no matter what has popped up.”
The 27-year old Ring signed his first professional contract in 2010 with his home club, Helsinki and has experienced multiple coaching maneuvers in his career – most notably the five managers in four seasons at FC Kaiserslautern.
“Of course it plays a part,” Ring said. “It’s the job of the more experienced players to drag the team through situations like this. We know what to do and we have to take responsibility now since the coach is not here. It’s part of the business and you have to cope with it.”
Ring has observed that this year’s squad has the resiliency to recovery from situations both on and off the field.
“We’ve always stood up after a bad game or also all the rumors flying around considering Patrick and the new coach not arriving yet,” Ring said. “It shows how strong we are as a team. I’m sure in the long haul its going to take us very far.”
“If you look back at our last game (a 1-1 draw with Atlanta) and all the questions surrounding Patrick’s departure, leading up to the game, in and around the game and after the game – that tells you something about this group,” Johnson said. “Outside influences don’t really affect our team.”
“We’ve seen everything with us this season,” Ring said. “We’ve had a lot of adversity and we always come out swinging – that’s the quality of our team.”
New York City FC had not lost back-to-back matches under Vieira since April of 2016 and are currently second in the Eastern Conference table.
With the pending arrival of Torrent and four new assistant coaches, Ring anticipates alterations in the program.
“Things will probably change a little bit but I think that’s always good – keeps you on your toes,” Ring said. “A new coach, everyone gets to prove themselves again.”
Johnson believes that Torrent will have already accumulated opinions on individuals and the group when he lands state-side.
“I’m pretty sure the boss (Torrent) has watched just about all if not all the games this season,” Johnson said.