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NYCFC near full strength going into final stretch

The Shield may be out of reach, but the Blues are nearly back to where they want to be at a key time of the season

MLS: D.C. United at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long, rough patch of road for New York City FC these past few weeks. One win in their past eight contests is all you really need to look at to get just how badly the Boys in Blue have struggled recently. A big part of those struggles are the plethora of injuries and other absences that have caught up with them.

We’ve already talked about Jo Inge Berget and what his injury has meant for the team — and what his return means as well — but factor in that perennial starters like Jesus Medina, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, and Ebenezer Ofori have also been missing from the fold, and the picture becomes clear: for the past month, NYCFC have struggled immensely with personnel.

Fortunately for fans of the club, things are looking a hell of a lot brighter ahead of Saturday’s matchup against the Montreal Impact.

NYCFC have released the injury report for this weekend and, by the grace of God, it is the shortest it has been in what feels like forever. The list is as follows:

  • OUT: M - Yangel Herrera (Ankle)
  • OUT: D - Cedric Hountondji (Hamstring)
  • QUESTIONABLE: M - Jesus Medina (Hamstring)

Manager Domé Torrent has all but confirmed at this point that Medina will need at least one more game to recover. However, the Catalan manager has confirmed that Berget is ready to go at least “55-60 minutes” on Saturday. Also worth noting is that Yangel Herrera is reportedly “a month away” from possibly being reinserted into the lineup. To facilitate this, Herrera was placed on the active roster while center back Cedric Hountondji was placed on the season-ending injury list, allowing NYCFC to maintain the allowed amount of international roster spots.

When it comes to the strength of their schedule, NYCFC has it relatively OK until the end of the season. With only five regular season games remaining, City will face the aforementioned Montreal, the Chicago Fire, Minnesota United, D.C. United, and the Philadelphia Union in succession, with the matches against Chicago on September 26 and Philadelphia on September 29 being the only remaining home games. Of those five different opponents, only two of them — Montreal and Philadelphia — currently occupy playoff spots. However, NYCFC cannot not take any of these opponents lightly, especially D.C. who have begun surging since the arrival of Wayne Rooney this summer and are only four points out from Montreal with a game in hand.

Needless to say, this reinsertion of several NYCFC players into the fold is extremely welcome at a time in the season where every result counts, even if it’s only for momentum’s sake.