ORANGEBURG, NY – On Decision Day, New York City FC fullback Anton Tinnerholm returned to the lineup following a two game absence in MLS concussion protocol.
The Swedish national played 90 minutes without incident in the 2-1 victory at Philadelphia but without proper tempo in the NYCFC attacking scheme. He wanted more knowing that NYCFC would have a 17-day layoff before starting the playoffs.
“It’s good to be back but it’s not 100-percent,” Tinnerholm said. “I would prefer to have some kind of a friendly or a scrimmage. For me, I want another game since I haven’t played for two weeks.”
New York City managed to find an MLS opponent who was willing to play – the Chicago Fire. On Wednesday, NYCFC flew to the City by the Lake and will have a closed-door scrimmage against the Fire at SeatGeek Stadium on Thursday.
“The most important thing for me is to play with the best form and the best form is about rhythm,” head coach Dome Torrent said. “With 17 days you never know what will happen in the first game.”
Torrent said he approached Sporting Director Claudio Reyna and team president Brad Simms about his idea to prepare for an October 23rd playoff game.
“We needed to play an MLS team if possible and they tried to find a close team,” Torrent said. “Columbus or Chicago – Chicago said yes, it is not a problem and we can play in the stadium.”
While Torrent favored a match at home, he desired an experience away from the Etihad City Football Academy training grounds.
“I prefer to play in New York and if we had the possibility to play at Citi Field, much better,” Torrent said referring to the alternate venue for City’s playoff match. “I prefer to play in a stadium – not in the facility because it is not real here. And when you travel, you have focus again. The travel means, ‘Boys, you have to be ready – in 6 days we have a big game.’”
The scrimmage will also provide an opportunity for a pair of injured players to return to the competitive cauldron.
Keaton Parks sustained a hamstring strain in the second half of his homecoming at FC Dallas and was held out of the final three matches of the regular season while Ismael Tajouri-Shradi sprained his right ankle in the regular finale after scoring what proved to be the winning goal against the Union.
Both players returned to full training this week and Torrent said he anticipates a 30-munte shift for each against the Fire on Thursday.