ORANGEBURG, N.Y. — The good news for New York City FC is that reinforcements have started to arrive, with Ronald Matarrita returning to the club this week after Costa Rica were eliminated by Mexico in the Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals.
The bad news, though, is the expected return of James Sands for Wednesday night’s clash against the Seattle Sounders at Yankee Stadium is delayed.
The 18-year-old, who suffered a broken arm in a 5-2 win over FC Cincinnati on June 6, was supposed to be sidelined for about a month. With the support of a light cast, the defensive workhorse has trained with the club, but was not on the field Monday and won’t be available for selection Wednesday.
“James needs to rest as well, I don’t know, one week maybe because we prefer when he comes back to the team 100 percent, not 70 percent,” NYCFC coach Dome Torrent said after training Monday.
Heber and Tony Rocha remain on the same timetable to return in about a week, which is also likely when Alex Callens and Sean Johnson come back from international duty.
Central defender Maxime Chanot wasn’t on the field at the end of training Monday, but Torrent wasn’t concerned about his availability to face the Sounders.
“Chanot is good. It’s not a problem,” Torrent said. “Chanot is tired, but [Alex] Ring is tired, Maxi [Moralez] is tired.”
The Sounders also arrive in the Bronx shorthanded, without Raul Ruidiaz, a teammate of Callens on Peru, which play Chile in the Copa America semifinals Wednesday night, as well as Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris with Sean Johnson on the USMNT, which meets Jamaica in the Gold Cup semifinals Wednesday night.
But they are coming off an emotional Cascadia Cup win over the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday and Torrent lauds the Sounders for reaching the MLS Cup final in two of the last three years as well as their style of play, even if they are shorthanded.
“For sure it will be a tough, tough game because I’m impressed, for example, in the buildup, they make a risk because it’s a team that wants to play. It’s good news for [Major League Soccer],” Torrent said. “When I spoke with my colleagues in Europe, I say you have to watch some games in [MLS] because some teams play or take a risk, play maybe better in the buildup than the European teams.
“I like when we play against these kind of teams. I know it’s not easy because you have to be focused when you don’t have the ball, If not they have the ball and you have to run a lot, but we respect a lot this team, especially the last three years. They were able to play really well, not just one year.”