David Villa dribbling
Chris Bergmann-USA TODAY Sports

David Villa back training, but praises NYCFC's success in his absence

ORANGEBURG. N.Y. — David Villa has missed the last four games with a knee injury suffered in the first half of a 2-1 win over Toronto FC on June 24, and while the New York City FC captain is frustrated to not be able to play, he’s also proud of the way his team has been able to win without him. 

“It’s really amazing because I told you many times for winning a few games you need 11, 13 players, but to win the title you need everyone,” Villa said after training Monday. “Sometimes in the season you have some players injured, like the last week, and the most important is the guys who don't play a lot make a step up and try to get the points as well. The last week was amazing for the future of the team. I see the team is strong without some players injured as well.”

On Monday, Villa trained fully with the club — the same was true of Jo Inge Berget and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.

But NYCFC coach Dome Torrent isn’t convinced the attacking trio is ready for game action yet. 

“I’m not sure right now because the most important thing is to ask our doctor about that, but David is in the second training session with the whole team,” Torrent said. “I think maybe he’s ready to play the next game, but I’m not sure in the moment. It’s the same with Jo and Ismael.”

Although Villa has only played half of NYCFC’s games, the club hasn’t missed a beat. NYCFC sit in second place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Atlanta United with two games in hand. Villa had a feeling before the season started that this was NYCFC’s most talented, and deepest squad yet, and he’s seeing proof of that through this recent rash of injuries with the Cityzens winning three games in seven days recently — all against Eastern Conference opposition. 

“I told you when we start in preseason when you ask me, I feel this year we have a better team,” Villa said. “When I’m talking better team, its a better roster. You can see the last week the things I said.”

According to Torrent, NYCFC are on the verge of getting even stronger. He said it's likely NYCFC are close to signing two players in the Secondary Transfer Window. The first, a “smart, experienced midfielder,” someone who could quickly assimilate into the team and would be the replacement for Yangel Herrera, who had season-ending ankle surgery last month. 

Torrent said this player would likely be signed just through the end of the 2018 season, while the second player would likely be a younger, depth-type player. 

“It’s not easy to play every two or three days especially our midfielders because they run a lot because we make high pressing all the time. Especially we need a player there,” Torrent said. “After that, if we have an opportunity to sign a young quality player, OK we do it.”