NYCFC defender Anton Tinnerholm suffers ruptured Achilles tendon

UPDATE (Oct. 5, 3:40 pm ET) – New York City FC have confirmed that right back Anton Tinnerholm suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during last Sunday's 0-0 draw with Nashville SC. 

He's set to undergo surgery to repair the injury and begin his recovery process.  

ORIGINAL (Oct. 3, 3:35 pm ET) – New York City FC sit just one point above the playoff line in a crowded Eastern Conference.

But their prospects of clinching a berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs were dealt a difficult blow with what appears to be a serious injury to Anton Tinnerholm in the first half of a 0-0 draw against Nashville SC Sunday at Red Bull Arena.

Tinnerholm, one of the top right backs in MLS, chested down a ball before collapsing to the ground in significant pain without contact. The 30-year-old didn’t put any weight on his right foot as he was assisted off the field just past the half-hour mark.

While it’s too soon for a full prognosis, NYCFC coach Ronny Deila said it appears Tinnerholm ruptured his Achilles, which would end his season and be a devastating injury to a player who has been a regular starter since arriving from Malmo ahead of the 2018 season after being named the 2017 Allsvenskan Defender of the Year.

“I’m not a doctor of course, but this doesn’t look good,” Deila said. “It’s a big, big chance that his Achilles is off. Then it’s a long, long period [of recovery]. I don’t know, but it looks very, very bad – I have to say that.”

Deila lauded Tinnerholm’s importance, both on and off the field, for NYCFC: “That’s, of course, going to be our loss. But at the same time, that’s a part of football we have to deal with.”

Filling in for Tinnerholm on Sunday, and likely for as long as he’s out, was Tayvon Gray, the 19-year-old homegrown from the Bronx. Gray has made five appearances, four off the bench, this season. He also started against Pumas UNAM in the Leagues Cup.

“Tayvon did a good job today and it’s something to just keep on improving him. We can maybe get more experience for him,” Deila said. “He has played well every time he gets a chance.”

Although it’s possible Tinnerholm’s season has come to an unceremonious end, one of NYCFC’s longest-tenured players will continue to have an important impact, according to Taty Castellanos.

“Obviously it’s sad what happened to him, we’re going to miss him, but we’re going to be with him, we’re going to support him,” the Argentine striker said through a translator. “We don’t know what the results are yet and hopefully it’s nothing too bad, but he’s an important player to the team, he brings a lot of experience. It’s a really bad loss, but we’ll be with him, we’ll support him throughout his recovery and he’ll help us on and off the pitch as well going forward.”