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Maxi Moralez remains questionable against Columbus

NYCFC’s most important player’s status is still unknown going into a key matchup

MLS: New York City FC at Toronto FC Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC’s game tomorrow night against the Columbus Crew is an important matchup. For one, City are looking to break out of a biblical funk that currently sees them at the very bottom of the MLS table. And to see them return to winning form, NYCFC will have to get through the undefeated Crew who currently sit atop the Eastern Conference as the league’s best team. And if that isn’t rough enough, City have to do it in Red Bull Arena — their “home” stadium for the foreseeable future.

But there’s a problem that goes deeper than City’s inability to score in 2020 or manager Ronny Deila’s questionable approach to gameday tactics. And it’s that star player Maxi Moralez may not be available.

After missing the Hudson River Derby against the New York Red Bulls on Thursday — which New York City lost 1-0 — Maxi’s calf injury continues to mark his status as being unknown.

Deila has stated that he is unsure whether or not the diminutive playmaker will be available tomorrow against Columbus and also expressed uncertainty when it comes to his minutes in the short term.

“It’s not 100%,” Deila told the press over a Zoom call earlier this afternoon. “That’s a process going on all the time. And if we had knew, we would, of course, have done something a long, long time ago. We have assessed everything now. We are doing the things we think is right to do. When he steps on the pitch, we want him to stay over time, because that is a tough thing as well. When he comes on, goes off comes on again, off, doesn’t start next game. As you say, he is important player for us.”

Without Moralez, NYCFC has looked lethargic at best in the attack thus far in 2020.

Maxi is coming off an amazing year with the Boys in Blue in 2019, logging 20 assists — just the third MLS player to accomplish such a feat — and 7 goals in 28 total appearances, 27 of them being starts.