We began the week with the news that NYCFC winger Khiry Shelton would miss at least the next month with a hamstring injury sustained in the closing minutes of last weekend’s 2-0 win at Philadelphia. Today, the Boys in Blue got even worse news on the injury front.
Fullback Ronald Matarrita, a first-choice starter on Patrick Vieira’s team sheet who continues to make a name for himself through an attractive balance of skill and ferocity, sustained a high ankle sprain in training on Thursday.
Matarrita carted off in training today w/ left ankle injury - did not look good #NYCFC— Glenn Crooks (@GlennCrooks) April 20, 2017
Crooks, the NYCFC radio play-by-play man for WFAN, added that Mata’s ankle was placed in an air cast on the field.
This significant blow will surely shake up Patrick Vieira’s squad selection process, which had been largely unwavering up to this point in the year. As we see it, it all comes down to a single choice:
- Stick with a back four and roll out RJ Allen on the left, where he occasionally covered for Mata last year
- Go with a back three and add an extra midfielder, allowing an attacking threat like Tommy McNamara or Miguel Camargo to make the starting XI for the first time in 2017.
It’s times like these that you thank the soccering gods for those narrow Yankee Stadium dimensions; anywhere else, playing a 3-4-3 means that Jack Harrison essentially has to become a wingback up and down the right half, and the young man just deserves better. HE DESERVES BETTER, I TELL YOU.
We’ll have all the updates on Matarrita’s condition as they become available.