New York City FC coach Ronny Deila expects to see his squad take various forms in the coming weeks as he rotates in backups during a busy stretch of the schedule.
None of them, at least for the time being, will include his newest designated player.
Talles Magno is unavailable for NYCFC (5-2-4, 17 points) as the team plays at the Columbus Crew on Saturday to begin a run of 10 games in 36 days. The 19-year-old Magno is dealing with a knee injury, the coach said Thursday.
"Talles had a little bit of trouble with his knee, so we will take him out for a while and get him 100%," Deila said.
Magno signed with NYCFC as the club’s young designated player in May from CR Vasco de Gama in his native Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for a reported transfer fee up to $12 million. Upon his arrival, the forward said through a translator he still was dealing with a knee injury suffered with Vasco and may be out for some time. Yet he appeared as a substitute in NYCFC’s road win over LAFC later that week. Magno has played 95 minutes over four appearances for NYCFC — starting just one game, from which he was pulled at halftime — and has yet to contribute a goal or assist.
"We know what kind of player he is when he’s at his best, but it’s very hard for him when he goes around and has pain, so we need to do something about that," Deila said.
Magno isn’t the only player missing entering the busy period. James Sands and Sean Johnson will remain with the U.S. men’s national team during the Gold Cup. The United States’ final group match is set for July 18, but a run to the final would keep Sands and Johnson away through Aug. 1. Striker Héber also remains unavailable 10 months after suffering a torn ACL, with Deila saying Thursday that he remains at least a month or two away from getting up to speed.
Otherwise, the coach is optimistic about the health of his squad.
"I was looking at the medical room today and there was nobody there, so I’m a little bit worried that we trained the team too little this week," Deila joked. "But I’m very happy that everybody else is injury free and training full -- 22 players in training today, almost a couple too many, but a positive problem to have and we are really almost a full squad now going into the period of 10 games."