In the last FIFA international window of 2021, New York City FC originally found four of their players called up for international duty: Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot, Sean Johnson, and Gudmundur Thórarinsson. James Sands was later called up mid-window. Fortunately, there were no games to be missed, for the next match will be the playoff game this weekend. Additionally, this window had the national teams playing just two fixtures, as compared to the three that occurred through multiple international windows this year. So, here is a brief recap of the five NYCFC players during their national team duty.
Alexander Callens continued his fantastic form for Peru during the international break, but only briefly. He started in the 3-0 win against Bolivia, and constantly cleared and swept away the ball on most of the attacking runs from his opponents. He was oddly substituted at the start of the second half, but at that time, Peru was up 3-0, so it is possible head coach Ricardo Gareca wanted to rest him.
Unfortunately, that was not the case, for it was confirmed Callens was pulled due to injury. Originally a preventive measure, a MRI scan confirmed the injury. This led to him missing the game against Venezuela, where Peru won 2-1.
Although, the severity of the injury is unknown. Hence, whether he will be available for the playoffs with NYCFC is yet to be determined.
Maxime Chanot once again was called up to represent Luxembourg. The center-back started and played all 90 minutes in the 3-1 victory against Azerbaijan, which secured the country’s highest ever point tally in World Cup Qualifying.
Chanot then started and played all 90 minutes in the 3-0 loss to Ireland as well.
Sean Johnson was called up as the third goalkeeper for the United States. The New York City FC captain did not make an appearance, nor did he dress, for either the 2-0 win against Mexico, or the 1-1 draw against Jamaica.
James Sands was called up to the USMNT before the match against Jamaica. This occurred since Weston McKennie and Miles Robinson departed camp due to suspension. He ended up on the bench for the 1-1 draw against Jamaica, and was an unused substitute.
Surprisingly, Gudmundur Thórarinsson was called up to the Icelandic National Team, despite missing some recent matches due to injury. One would have thought New York City FC would have wanted to keep him home to ensure he is healthy for the playoffs. Yet, at the same time, maybe they wanted him to get recent minutes under his belt to ensure he is ready to go.
Thórarinsson did not start the first fixture against Romania, but was substituted on early in the 15th minute due to an injury. He played the remainder of the match, and helped hold the 0-0 draw. He also was a healthy addition to the attack, and had quite a few passes to give his teammates opportunities to score, but like it was seen during the scoring droughts with NYCFC, no one could capitalize.
He did start the 3-1 loss against North Macedonia though. This time around, Iceland could not keep their opponents out of goal, and it was a poor game full of yellow cards and even a red. Thórarinsson was eventually substituted out in the 86th minute.
The outcomes for the New York City FC players
Callens and Peru are in the middle of the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying table, but are not out yet. Undoubtedly, there is a lot of work to do, but the two wins from this window helps immensely. Currently, the real concern for Callens himself will be how severe the injury is, and whether he will be able to contribute to NYCFC’s playoff aspirations.
Meanwhile, the USMNT are in a decent position in regards to qualifying, despite the top of the CONCACAF table being so close point wise. It is likely Johnson will continue to get called up for World Cup Qualifying in some of the 2022 windows. But when he is called up, he will continue to be the third-choice keeper. For Sands, he just needs to play consistently well for New York City FC, and he will probably have more opportunities with the national team.
Meanwhile, Chanot and Thórarinsson’s national sides finished fourth and fifth place respectively in their UEFA World Cup Qualifying groups, thus eliminating them from participating in the World Cup in 2022.