New York City FC will look for their third straight win when they host last-place D.C. United at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night. But they'll do so without in-form attacker Alexandru Mitrita, and it's unclear if he'll ever return.
Mitrita has scored twice in each of the last two matches for NYCFC (7-6-2, 23 points). He was released by the club to join Romania on national team duty, even while the club kept three other players from joining their national teams, in accordance with FIFA's guidance due to COVID-19.
The club cited a personal matter Mitrita had to attend to. However, rumors emerged late on Monday on Twitter that the 25-year-old had been loaned to Saudi Arabian power Al-Ahli.
Whatever the case, Mitrita has been vital while Argentine Maxi Moralez has missed time with an injury. Mitrita's goal boon has helped NYCFC to a pair of high-scoring wins, the most recent a 3-2 triumph during a steamy Saturday at Inter Miami.
"The conditions with the heat and traveling in the same day made it hard for us, but I'm proud of the team," manager Ronny Deila said of that win. "Not every game you can outplay the opponent and have full control. Sometimes you have to dig out results. We did that today and it was amazing."
D.C. (2-8-5, 11 points) has also declined to release its four international call-ups -- Peru's Yordy Reyna and Edison Flores, Venezuela's Junior Moreno and Estonia's Erik Sorga -- for the October window as it tries to snap out of a six-match winless stretch (0-4-2) that includes three consecutive scoreless defeats. Flores has been out since late August due to facial fractures but was still named to Peru's contingent.
Even with their full assortment of healthy players, D.C. has failed to score in five of its last six matches. And United's most recent loss may have been their worst, a 4-0 home defeat to Atlanta United.
"We're a fragile group emotionally right now and we are, from a soccer standpoint, not very good either," said D.C. manager Ben Olsen after that game. "So it's a bad combination. What we can do right now is be a better defensive group and be tougher to play against tonight, and we can stay together."
--Field Level Media
Streaking NYCFC aim to feast on struggling D.C. United
More TOP STORIES News