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NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira adamant Alex Ring will return sooner than anticipated

Mar 24, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York City forward Jo Inge Berget (9) heads the ball in front of New England Revolution defender Jalil Anibaba (3) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

About an hour before kickoff Saturday against New England, New York City FC announced holding midfielder Alex Ring would miss four weeks with a knee injury sustained while on international duty with Finland. 

Ring has been a stalwart in the middle of the park since his arrival last season, so a prolonged absence could prove detrimental. However, NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira says he expects Ring to be available earlier than forecasted.

“First of all, I don’t think Ring will be out for four weeks,” Vieira said. “He will be back earlier than that. It’s not as bad as we first thought.”

 Ring suffered an MCL sprain and subluxation of his right patella at a training session last Wednesday.

Unclear assessment of Ring’s replacement 

Ghanaian Ebenezer Ofori replaced Ring in the lineup against the Revolution. After struggling in the opening 45 minutes of his first start for the club, Ofori settled down with an adequate second half.  However, he is so clearly left-footed that Ofori may not be the proper fit in the holding midfield role where the pivot’s tools must include the ability to move the ball from side to side with both feet.

Unclear assessment of Villa’s Replacement

Jo Inge Berget made his NYCFC and MLS debut in place of the injured David Villa. Berget arrived on a free transfer from Swedish champions Malmo FF at the end of February but failed to appear in a scrimmage or regular match due to injury and illness. With his back to the goal, Berget clumsily set up the early stage of Ismael Shradi’s equalizer in New England which offset an otherwise mundane performance. Afterward, Berget was more focused on his ability to go the full 90 minutes. He had not competed in a professional match since November of last year.

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