New York City FC: Anton Tinnerholm leaves injured in unwanted draw

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Maximiliano Moralez #10 of New York City FC takes the free kick in front of him in the first half of the match against Nashville SC at Red Bull Arena on October 3, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Maximiliano Moralez #10 of New York City FC takes the free kick in front of him in the first half of the match against Nashville SC at Red Bull Arena on October 3, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images) /

New York City FC lost Anton Tinnerholm to injury in a 0-0 draw against Nashville SC

Going into Sunday afternoon’s match, New York City FC was on a two game losing streak, and only won once since September 3.  The Pigeons were still in a playoff position, but at risk since the other results around the league pushed the team down to sixth place in the Eastern Conference.  A mid-week loss to Chicago Fire FC, who is toward the bottom of the table, did not help for the playoff push.

So, NYCFC had a tall order to face with Nashville SC at Red Bull Arena, and already lost to the second place side earlier in the season.  Despite the pressure for a must needed-win, the Pigeons could only manage a 0-0 draw.  Once again, they were held scoreless.  Alas, it is safe to say the scoring issues that plagued NYCFC throughout a good portion of 2020 officially have taken claim in the later part of the 2021 season.

Although the result was a scoreless draw, that does not mean there were a lack of chances.  NYCFC had the majority of the possession, and then 12 shots with four on target.  Some of the best opportunities came in the first half, including the Valentín Castellanos chance in the fifth minute.  The home side had a corner kick, in which Jesús Medina took and swooped the ball into the box.  Castellanos was in the right position, and headed the ball toward goal.  For a split second, it looked like the Pigeons would be on top early on, but the ball hit the post.

Meanwhile, Alexander Callens almost had his first goal of the season in the seventh minute.  NYCFC won a free kick, and Maxi Moralez served the ball into the box.  Callens headed the ball into the back of the net but he was a hair offside.  The offside call was extremely close, but the referee got the call right.

Notably, Medina did have three shots with two on target, and offensively was a huge threat in the second half.  However, he had clear opportunities, and should have been more composed.  He took too many quick shots that were easily blocked, and he allowed Nashville’s goalkeeper, Joe Willis, to make feasible saves on shots he should have scored on.  Medina should have done better, but at the same time Nashville was able to close him down.

Even though the draw was an unwanted result, the worst part of the afternoon came about 30 minutes into the match.  Right-back Anton Tinnerholm was trying to control the ball when he suffered a non-contact injury.  The veteran had a misstep and immediately fell to the ground.  When the training staff came on, Tinnerholm screamed in pain as they looked at his lower leg.

Right away, the speculation began that he possibly injured his Achilles tendon.  At best, maybe it was just an ankle injury, but sports fans have seen such injuries before, and the footage makes it easy to the assume it was the Achilles.

At this moment, there is no way Tinnerholm is coming back this season.  This is a huge loss for New York City FC, so hopefully Tayvon Gray, who came on for Tinnerholm, can step up.  So far, the young Homegrown player did well for the remainder of the fixture against Nashville, and now has an opportunity to improve his craft with the minutes he is bound to gain.

It is time to panic

Thankfully, New York City FC does not play during the international break this time around.  The team does not have to worry about missing players, and most of the team will get a break.  Hopefully, this period will allow the Pigeons to figure out what had gone wrong over the last month, and will use the time to prepare for the final six matches of the season.

While the team will get that break, it is still not the time to take it easy.  NYCFC might have gotten a point from Nashville, but the draw is not good enough.  They still sit in sixth place after their result and the weekend’s games, and the threat of not making the playoffs looms ominously.

Therefore, the time to panic is now.  The Pigeons have no room to make any more mistakes, and must win the majority, or even all, of their final fixtures.  Realistically, this is a tough venture to take on, but there is no choice.  It does not help that Tinnerholm will likely be out for the rest of 2021 too, so the other veteran players must step up.

On paper, fans may look at the remaining schedule, and think there are plenty of teams that NYCFC should easily beat.  However, they saw what happened during the Hudson River Derby week, and then of course there was the loss against Chicago.  Beating Nashville was a challenge in itself, so it is not surprising the Bronx side only managed a 0-0 draw.

Consequently, NYCFC cannot take it easy.  They must prepare for each game like they are playing the Supporters’ Shield leading New England Revolution, for the standings do not matter.  They must find a way to beat each remaining team.  Players, especially the attacking players, need to find and retain their scoring ways.  The lacking in goals streak has to end.

Additionally, Ronny Deila cannot choose the wrong starting lineups.  He has to get them right, and also make the proper substitutions earlier, rather than later.  He must adjust quickly if NYCFC goes down early, and must manage the discipline of his players.  NYCFC cannot afford to get another red card this season.

Due to the player additions as the season went on, the Pigeons should have more than 40 points in 28 games.  There are quite a few draws or losses that should have been wins, and now NYCFC is starting to pay the price from those fixtures.  It is panic time, and yes, fans should absolutely be frustrated and worried.  The likelihood of New York City FC making the postseason is slipping, and the rest of the season will be the tell-all to how strong this team truly is.