New York City FC have been gearing up for the third and final Hudson River Derby of the regular season this week. Amid that preparation four NYCFC players departed to join their national team and participate in the World Cup Qualifiers. Here’s a round-up of how they got on.
Alexander Callens – Peru
The 29-year-old defender continued his run of form for his country by playing all three of Peru’s World Cup Qualifiers.
Starting on a high, Callens helped his country secure a 2-0 win against Chile to boost their chances of competing in Qatar next year. This saw Callens named in the team of the round - the only Peruvian player to be awarded that honor.
Unfortunately, that was followed up by a narrow defeat to Bolivia in their next game.
Their final encounter saw them take on Argentina. Ricardo Gareca’s side will have felt hard done by to lose 1-0, with Yoshimar Yotun missing a second-half penalty. Those results leave them in a difficult position heading into next month’s qualifiers, with Peru sitting 9th out of 10 teams in CONMEBOL qualifying.
Maxime Chanot – Luxembourg
The Red Lions knew they would need maximum points against Portugal and Serbia to keep their faint hopes of World Cup qualification alive.
Their task began with a visit from Serbia, where a single goal from Dušan Vlahović handed Dragan Stojković’s side all three points.
Things didn’t get any easier during their next game, where a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo and goals from Bernardo Silva and Joao Palhinha saw Portugal run out 5-0 victors.
Still, with two games to play next month, Chanot and his teammates will be hoping to end on a high as they play for pride.
Gudi Thórarinsson – Iceland
After making his return to the national team fold recently Thórarinsson was once again involved during games against Armenia and Lichtenstein this month.
While the defender did not take the field against Armenia – a game his side drew 1-1 – he was handed a start against Lichtenstein. Thórarinsson played the full 90 minutes as Iceland ran out comfortable 4-0 winners, which took them to eight points in Group J.
That means Thórarinsson’s team head into the final two games of qualification with a chance of reaching the World Cup, but they will require two wins and favors from Germany and Lichtenstein to do so.
Sean Johnson – United States
A dependable shot-stopper, Johnson has been trusted as part of the goalkeeping pool by Gregg Berhalter for some time and was once again part of the group that took on Jamaica, Panama and Costa Rica.
Overall, the trip was a fruitful one for the United States. They began their three-game tour with a 2-0 win against Jamaica, before suffering a surprise 1-0 defeat to Panama on the road.
Returning to U.S. soil, they overcame Costa Rica 2-1 in Columbus, Ohio, and that saw them rise to second in CONCACAF qualification with 11 points.