New York City FC returned to Major League Soccer action after the international break with two games at home. However, they were without both David Villa and Alexander Ring, their two most important players, who picked up abductor and toe injuries, respectively, while on national team duty.
Villa, a surprise call up, did see minutes in Spain’s World Cup qualifier against Italy and was met with thunderous applause from supporters when he entered the game.
New York City faced tough opponents in Sporting Kansas City and current Western Conference leaders Portland Timbers. Both games ended 1-0, though only one of those results went in NYCFC’s favor. The squad pulled out a late victory against SKC thanks to a 84th minute winner by former Manchester United academy player Jack Harrison before falling to Portland three days later.
But coming away with three points from the week is a decent outcome considering the circumstances the team found themselves in. NYC had so few available players for Wednesday’s game against Kansas City that head coach Patrick Vieira was forced to put two goalkeepers on his bench out of sheer necessity.
Manchester City loanee Yangel Herrera did not feature in either of NYCFC’s games last week as he was also away on international duty for Venezuela.
NYCFC still has a stranglehold on the second spot in the Eastern Conference standings, 5 points clear of third place Chicago. The race for the Supporters Shield (league leader in points) has moved further out of reach however, as Toronto FC have opened up a nine-point lead on New York City.
City’s next game will be a matchup with the Colorado Rapids on the road this upcoming Saturday.