VANCOUVER, BC – Yordy Reyna could make his MLS debut as early as this Saturday vs. Chicago Fire, Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson told reporters on Tuesday.
The Peruvian attacking midfielder, who Whitecaps FC acquired from Austrian Bundesliga champions FC Red Bull Salzburg with the use of Targeted Allocation Money at the end of January, has been sidelined with a broken foot since February.
“He’s a terrific young player,” Robinson said. “I don’t think he’ll start the game because he’s not ready to do that yet. But coming off the bench maybe 15-20 minutes to wean him in a little bit on Saturday and Wednesday might be an option for us. We’re delighted to have him back. He’s a good player.”
He certainly showed that in the preseason.
In his first appearance, a brief 25-minute cameo as a withdrawn striker, Reyna played a key role in the build-up to Russell Teibert’s goal, taking a clean first touch at the edge of the box before eluding three defenders with a cheeky nutmeg and some fancy footwork. The following game, he scored his first goal for the club with a little juke in the box and strike off the far post and in.
“It’s been really tough the past few months with the pain and the desire to play,” Reyna said through a translator. “Thankfully that time has passed now and I’m ready to get on the field.”
If Reyna does in fact get on the field on Saturday, he’ll likely be the only one of Vancouver’s long list of injured players making a return. Christian Bolaños (shoulder), Christian Dean (foot), Erik Hurtado (foot), and Nicolas Mezquida (ankle) were all back to training on Tuesday, which was a welcome sight, but Robinson said this weekend’s match “is probably too early for all of them.”
The ‘Caps will also likely be without the services of Alphonso Davies, Marcel de Jong, and Russell Teibert, who were called up to Canada on Tuesday for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup along with Sam Adekugbe. Canada’s camp is set to begin on Wednesday in Alliston, Ontario.
“I spoke to Octavio [Zambrano] about it,” Robinson said. “We're down to the bare bones. We’ll see where we are. Delighted for the guys. It’s a privilege for them and an honour for the club whenever players get called up to their national teams even though we might be missing them.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s match vs. Chicago is set for 4 p.m. PT at Toyota Park (TSN1 and TSN 1410 radio). The ‘Caps will then host David Villa’s New York City FC on Wednesday, July 5 at BC Place (7 p.m. PT – tickets still available) before MLS breaks for the group stage of the Gold Cup.