Yesterday, it was reported that MLS would be chartering their players back from international duty in order to avoid the need for prolonged quarantining due to COVID-19. We have learned today that Alexander Callens — who represented Peru in World Cup qualifiers this past week — will indeed be available for New York City FC ahead of their playoff match against Orlando City on Saturday.
For obvious reasons, Callens will need to test negative for COVID-19 in the leadup to Saturday in order to be available for selection. But should everything prove to be in working order, Callens will most likely be starting in the Sunshine State.
Callens was a big anchor point for NYCFC this year. Despite the team struggling to produce consistent offense over the summer and into the early stages of fall, City’s defense carried them through the rough times and gave the club the backbone needed to grind out results and climb their way back into the playoff mix.
In a shortened 23-game season, NYCFC only allowed 25 goals all year which ties them for third best in that category for the Eastern Conference and also ties them for fourth best in all of MLS.
Let’s hope the defensive corps of Callens, Maxime Chanot, Anton Tinnerholm, and Ronald Matarrita is good enough to keep Orlando City at bay this weekend.