After dropping two straight league games, the past two weeks have seen New York City FC return to form with a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids on the road last week, as well as a dominating 3-1 win at home against Sporting Kansas City last night.
There are plenty of talking points in relation to last night’s matchup against SKC — City passed well, Alexander Ring had two assists and a goal, Gary Mackay-Steven made an impact off the bench... there’s tons of material there.
The one thing that will be most prevalent in fans’ minds, however, is the prospect of potentially losing star attacking midfielder Maxi Moralez who left the game in the early goings of the second half due to an apparent calf injury.
Coming into this one, Maxi’s contributions were the talk of both the team and the league. Just prior to kickoff, YES Network showed a graphic on the screen flaunting Moralez’ recent exploits — in his previous 10 games, Maxi had accrued 6 goals and 10 assists. Those are some truly remarkable, MVP-caliber numbers.
And now, with Moralez having sustained a potentially debilitating that could see him miss some time, NYCFC is faced with the impossible task of having to replace a player that numbers show is damn close to irreplaceable.
I’d really hate to be Domé Torrent right now. Nevertheless, I’ll do my best. Here’s a short list of players that could potentially step in should Maxi be unable to play in the coming weeks.
Parks is the name on the tip of every NYCFC supporter right now. Not only has the young American on loan from Benfica been impressive since breaking into the Starting XI last month, he’s also been as versatile a player as we’ve seen to this point. Since June, we have seen Parks play everything from the defensive midfield, the No. 8 box-to-box role, and even as a winger in small spurts. More often, however, he is the glue in between the attacking Moralez and the defensive pivot in the midfield.
#USMNT Keaton Parks last night for #NYCFC went the full 90, had 70 touches, 92% accurate passing on 51 passes (16 in opponents half and 10 in the final third), 1 key pass, 3/4 accurate long balls, 1 shot on target, 1/1 successful dribbles, 8/11 duels won, and won 1/1 tackles.— Mr. Silence Dogood (@POTP_Silence) July 27, 2019
Moving Parks up into the attack while having either Ebenezer Ofori or James Sands fill the midfield vacancy could be beneficial to the club in the short term whilst Moralez is on the mend.
In the immediate aftermath of Moralez’ injury, Torrent subbed on Ebenezer Ofori to play as the defensive midfielder and moved Ring into the No. 10 spot. And the results were quite promising. Mere moments after being pushed into a new role, Ring assisted forward Héber on City’s second goal of the night.
But the Ringleader wasn’t done there. After Sporting KC had scored a set piece goal in the 73rd minute, Ring responded shortly after by banging home a tidy finish from distance to put the game truly out of reach for the visitors.
Obviously, the data is there to suggest that Ring could be a good option at the No. 10 position for at least a brief period of time. Whether Domé sees that as a worthy risk is another thing.
Upon his arrival last summer, Taty struggled to make a lasting impact as a winger. This season, Domé has taken a different approach by playing him as a center forward for most of the year.
When on his game, Castellanos possesses both a good shot and some pretty damn good passing ability as well. This skillset could definitely translate well to an attacking midfielder role should management find it apropos.