The 2019 season has been tough on 19-year-old New York City FC defender James Sands.
Things got worse on Saturday night when he suffered a broken collarbone after making hard contact with Mathieu Deplagne early in NYCFC’s 4-1 win over FC Cincinnati.
He went off in the ninth minute after laying restless on the field, and the initial reports of the injury were substantiated by NYCFC head coach Domènec Torrent after the game.
“It’s bad news for us,” Torrent said “We have to check in New York. We have to wait at least two days, that is not good news for us because I love this player. We need this player. We need everybody, but especially this player. Sometimes the soccer is not fair with the players, and right now it’s not fair with Jimmy.”
Sands came into the game wearing a cast on his right arm, which could still have been on the mend after it was broken in the first NYCFC-FC Cincinnati meeting in June at Yankee Stadium.
“He deserves to play with our team. He’s an amazing player,” Torrent said. “Sometimes that happens. That is soccer. Soccer is sometimes unfair with players, and that happened with Jimmy. It’s bad news for us.”
While an official prognosis will likely come in the two-day span that Torrent mentioned, his status will be doubtful in NYCFC’s pursuit of an MLS Cup run.
Sands entered the season seen as a long shot to earn regular playing tine, but the former U.S. Under-17 national team standout impressed in preseason and earned a starting defensive midfield. He eventually transitioned into a central defender position before suffering the elbow injury that sidelined him for four matches in June and July.
Saturday’s start was Sands’ fifth in six matches, but the appearance lasted just nine minutes before he was forced out with what was initially called a broken collarbone.
Saturday’s win moves NYCFC into third place in the Eastern Conference, but Sands’ absence will cut into NYCFC’s defensive depths heading down the stretch of the regular season.
Torrent’s have a quick turnaround, making a stop in Columbus on Wednesday before returning home to host the New York Red Bulls in the Hudson River Derby on August 24th.