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Keaton Parks returns to lineup

The midfielder will be available to play for the first time since June; Alexander Callens, Thiago Martins, Anton Tinnerholm also available

Big Bird is back.
Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy

Big Bird is back.

Midfielder Keaton Parks is expected to return to the New York City FC lineup after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot in late June and being sidelined for more than two months. While he isn't ready to start, he will be available to come in off the bench.

“Parks is in the squad,” said interim head coach Nick Cushing at the NYCFC pregame press conference earlier today. “He's a huge player for us, and we’ve really missed him. In the period that he's been out, his influence, his energy, his ability to get in the box, his ability defensively — we know Keaton Parks is a massive player for us. The one thing I will say is the work he has put in to get back so quickly — he's hungry to get back on the pitch.”

One of the most effective and underrated box-to-box midfielders in MLS, Parks contributes to the team’s attack in ways that aren’t always easy to quantify but that have been missing during New York City’s recent collapse in form. Writing about Parks for Hudson River Blue, James Nalton looked at the data to demonstrate the midfielder is among the very elite in the league, outperforming Albert Rusnák of Seattle Sounders and Darlington Nagbe of Columbus Crew in key passing metrics.

“If there is an opportunity, and if there is a right moment, Keaton Parks will see the field as quick as possible.”

Alexander Callens, Thiago Martins, and Anton Tinnerholm are also expected to return to the lineup.

Midfielder Justin Haak will be unavailable due to fatigue. Since being called up to the Senior Team in late June the 20-year-old has made 13 appearances, including four 90-minute starts. Haak played 63 minutes in Sunday’s loss to New England Revolution, when he had a passing accuracy rate of 90%.