Influential midfielder Jill Roord suffered a rupture to her anterior cruciate knee ligament during the game that will keep her on the sidelines for months.
City sought to strengthen their squad last summer in order to compete catch Chelsea by signing a key player. Despite other top teams adding several players to their ranks, City went for a marquee signing.
Roord, 26, was signed from Wolfsburg for a club record fee in excess of £300,000. Already having a solid defence and a sharp attack, the intention was to improve the midfield in order to balance the team.
So far, the Netherlands international has repaid City’s faith with six goals and two assists in just 11 league appearances. Only striker Khadija Shaw has managed more for City this term.
With the team hot on the heels of Chelsea in the title race, losing Roord at this point in the season will be a huge blow.
Gareth Taylor will need to utilize the likes of Filippa Angeldahl, Ruby Mace and Jessica Park to join Yui Hasegawa and Laura Coombs in the middle of the park. Hasegawa has been a constant feature in the midfield, shielding the defence line while Roord enjoys the freedom to connect defence and attack, often taking advantage of goalscoring opportunities.
The incoming players will need to step up and fill the void in Roord’s absence. That won’t be easy. But if they can pull it off, it will make City’s success this season even more remarkable.