New York City FC’s James Sands made his return to the Starting XI against the Colorado Rapids last week.
The young homegrown had been out of contention for over a month with an arm injury, and he made his return to full fitness in time for last Saturday’s match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
A challenging stadium to play in due to the higher altitude, Sands was happy to be back with his team on the same pitch where he made his professional debut.
“I felt really good out there, it’s nice to be back on the field,” Sands said. "It was a tough month or six weeks, but I’m just glad I’m back with the team and I’m happy we got three points.”
In his first game back, young Sands reminded everybody why he was a go-to starter for Dome Torrent, leading up to his injury.
He did a lot of heavy lifting in the match, as Torrent shifted his power into the attack. Sands was left in a two-man defense doing everything he could to prevent a counterattack from the opponents.
“I think it was a good game to get back into it,” Sands told reporters. “It was definitely interesting because I think they were kind of playing for the counter.
“Even if we have the ball the whole time, they’re still pretty dangerous. Especially with the speed they had, but I think we did a good job handling that.”
The Rye-native sustained an arm injury in early June against FC Cincinnati after an impressive start to Season 5.
“It’s definitely tough because I thought I was in good form, so it’s never easy to take time off, he said.
Although Sands was forced to sit on the bench for a few weeks, he maintained a positive attitude and remained optimistic about his return.
“If I had to pick a point in the season where I would have to miss some games, it would probably be what happened.” Sands stated. “It’s the middle of the season so I kind of get off to a good start, take a little break, and hopefully finish the season healthy.”
While he was recovering from his injury, Sands spent time observing his teammates to continue progressing and shaping his own game.
“I think it helps when I can focus on our team play, it’s good to watch a little bit and see how some of the other players are doing,” he said. “I watched Maxime Chanot a lot, especially because he was playing in the middle when I was out. So just watching how he leads and how he’s organizing everyone is helpful. I think all the midfielders, you know Ringy, Eben, Keaton, just how they move the ball and how they play with each other. I just like watching that.”
After an impressive return, the homegrown will still be in a soft-cast for Friday night’s match, but once again he remains focused on the bright side.
“It’s not fun, but at least I can play,” said Sands.