NYCFC misses Anton Tinnerholm now more than ever

Last season, NYCFC seemed to have an answer to every question raised by injuries.

With Heber out for most of the campaign, Taty Castellanos upped his game to that of a Golden Boot winner. When Keaton Parks missed the playoffs with a blood clot, Alfredo Morales and James Sands held it in midfield. And when Anton Tinnerholm tore his Achilles tendon in October, Tayvon Gray filled the rest of the stretch admirably at right-back.

However, with the dust settling on the club’s MLS Cup run, Tinnerholm is far from back. The weight of his absence is beginning to be felt for the club, who have won just one of their first five league games.

Gray largely thrived in the postseason and has at least proven to be a capable replacement for Tinnerholm. But Gray – who has not played since March 5 – is struggling with a lower body injury himself, leaving manager Ronny Deila with some less than ideal options down the right.

The Norwegian has mainly featured Andres Jasson, a natural winger, there since Gray’s injury, while midfielder Nicolas Acevedo was used from the start in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat by Toronto FC.

Andrés Jason Talles Magno
Andres Jasson and Talles Magno celebrate after Jasson set up the Brazilian’s goal against CF Montreal.
Ira L. Black—Corbis/Getty Images

Both Jasson and Acevedo have displayed teething problems in their unconventional roles. In Jasson’s case, the Philadelphia Union scored both goals on his side in a 2-0 win over New York City on March 19.

Deila was complementary to Jasson’s crossing ability in the role and the natural attacker provided a fine assist for Talles Magno in the club’s 4-1 win over Montreal. But his game understandably lacks defensive instincts; Aside from the position change, he has only started eight games in MLS overall.

Acevedo has played even less in defense and he and centre-back Thiago Martins were tied for Toronto’s first goal last weekend. If he’s (perhaps) projecting to be more solid defensively than Jasson, then he’s likely the lesser offensive threat of the two as well.

Things should improve when Gray returns (he was healthy enough to be benched against Toronto). But even at Gray, there’s still a dip in attacking prowess from Tinnerholm, who at times has looked like the team’s main source of creation over the past two seasons.

Gray did very well in last season’s playoffs, but he only started five regular-season games for the club. Time will tell how long (and how well) this team can function without Tinnerholm. Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg in Seattle will be another test.

Another breakout at the Red Bulls?

After the Red Bulls’ late 1-0 win at New England Revolution last Saturday, midfielder Frankie Amaya took to Twitter to express his displeasure at being sent off during the game.

“Ball doesn’t lie,” he wroteapparently in relation to his second yellow.

Whether Amaya actually won the ball with his tackle – and the author thinks the dismissal is deserved – is beyond question as Amaya will be suspended this weekend if the Red Bulls don’t win an appeal.

That will dashed their hopes of beating Montreal on Saturday. Amaya started all five season-opening games, adding two assists in the process. However, his loss could be 18-year-old Daniel Edelman’s win.

With Caden Clark picking up a knee injury after the international break (he and Edelman were in the USA U-20 squad) and new signing Luquinhas still finding his feet in New York, the young Warren, NJ native could be thrown into midfield for him first senior start.

Clark and John Tolkin are recent examples of youthful outbursts at the Red Bulls. Whether or not Edelman starts on Saturday, keep an eye on him this season. NYCFC misses Anton Tinnerholm now more than ever


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