New York City FC hoped to add some fresh faces to replenish their battered roster. Instead, they failed to add any players, but that doesn’t mean all was lost, as they welcomed back a face that had been missed for all of July.
“We’re doing well,” said winger Rodney Wallace, who returned to full training this week. “We have confidence in our players and in our system. If we continue to do the things that we’ve been doing, we’ll be successful.”
Wallace missed the previous five games, four of them because of an injury he picked up while playing for Costa Rica in the
CONCACAF Gold Cup. His arrival should slot him back on the left wing in the starting lineup while relieving some of the stress from failing to acquire depth in the transfer window.
Head coach Patrick Vieira previously said he hoped to add three new players, while identifying center back as the position most needing reinforcement, but as NYCFC play the struggling LA Galaxy in Los Angeles on Saturday night (11 pm; ESPN), Vieira said the team needs to focus on dealing with the Galaxy’s speedy forwards.
“The biggest worry is the pace [Los Angeles] has up front,” Vieira said. “The way they attack the space…they have a lot of players with pace that can threaten.”
Vieira signaled out a quartet of players — Romain Alessandrini, Gyasi Zardes and Giovani dos Santos — who will need to be shut down if NYCFC want to continue to keep their momentum after defeating the Red Bulls for the second time this year in the Hudson River Derby last week.
“If we are not motivated against L.A., we’re never going to be motivated,” Vieira said. “L.A. is the biggest team and franchise in this country because of what they’ve achieved in the past years. They are going through a difficult period, but it’s still a game every single player is looking forward to.”
The Galaxy haven’t won in their past seven MLS matches and head coach Curt Onalfo was fired July 27. Longtime MLS coach Sigi Schmid is winless in his two games since taking over the team. The Galaxy added Jonathan dos Santos — brother of Giovani — earlier this month. He played 26 minutes in their 3-1 loss against Portland last week. He could make his first start for the Galaxy while Alessandrini, the team’s leading scorer with eight goals, might return after missing their last match with injury.
NYCFC will be without midfielder Maxi Moralez, who is suspended after he received his fifth yellow card last week.
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