CINCINNATI — It has been a difficult season for James Sands, especially against FC Cincinnati.

In June, the 19-year-old defender suffered a broken right arm against the MLS expansion team.

On Saturday night, he broke his collarbone in City’s 4-1 victory over Cincy at Nippert Stadium.

It is not known how long Sands will be sidelined, but it is feared he will miss NYCFC’s stretch run towards the MLS playoffs.

Sands, who had been an integral part of City’s defensive success this season, made hard contact with Cincy’s Mathieu Deplagne in the ninth minute.

“It’s bad news for us,” NYCFC head Dome Torrent said. “We have to check in New York. We have to wait at least two days, that is not good news for us because I love this player. We need this player. We need everybody, but especially this player.

“Sometimes the soccer is not fair with the players, and right now it’s not fair with Jimmy. He deserves to play with our team. He’s an amazing player. Sometimes that happens. That is soccer. Soccer is sometimes unfair with players, and that happened with Jimmy. It’s bad news for us.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.