When the Chicago Fire signed German international centerback Arne Friedrich, the one major concern was that the defender's injury past would prevent him from staying on the field.
That concern came to fruition over the weekend, when Friedrich had to exit the club's victory over Sporting Kansas City after getting his leg caught under him on the slippery surface on a rainy night at Toyota Park.
Just how long the 32-year-old Friedrich will be out remains to be seen, but according to the Chicago Sun Times, an MRI revealed that he has a Grade II hamstring strain, an injury that typically takes at least a couple of weeks to heal. The Fire have four games in the next three weeks prior to the two-week international break in June.
With Cory Gibbs out for an extended period of time with a torn meniscus and Friedrich on the mend, second-year defender Jalil Anibaba and rookie Austin Berry will be looked upon to hold down the fort in central defense in front of goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Here are a couple of more notes from MLS:
KITCHEN ESCAPES MAJOR INJURY
D.C. United can breathe a sigh of relief.
Perry Kitchen escaped a major injury after an MRI revealed no ligament damage to the second-year defensive midfielder's right knee, and he is listed as "questionable" for Wednesday night's game at RFK Stadium against the Colorado Rapids. Kitchen was forced to leave D.C.'s 1-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo in the 28th minute after jumping and landing awkwardly, and Stephen King was his replacement with Marcelo Saragosa also dealing with an injury.
ATOUBA ON TRIAL WITH IMPACT
The Montreal Impact continue to take looks at international-caliber talent with experience on Europe's big stage.
The club has Cameroonian defender Timothee Atouba on trial this week, a player with experience in Switzerland, Germany, England and the Netherlands. Atouba, 30, is a free agent and has barely played over the last few years, making just one appearance for Ajax in the last two seasons. His pedigree remains strong, though, and he would join the likes of Matteo Ferrari, Nelson Rivas and Bernardo Corradi with major experience internationally and abroad. Bologna striker Marco Di Vaio, in whom the club has confirmed its interest, also falls into that category.
MASTROENI BEGINS COMEBACK
Pablo Mastroeni has been missing in action for the Colorado Rapids since being sidelined with concussion symptoms since March 20, but the club's captain has started his comeback as part of the league's concussion protocol by beginning to jog.
"We had sat down and talked about (staying out) six weeks to make sure everything was kind of healed up and to not be chasing this all year long, taking two weeks off here, two weeks there," Mastroeni told the Rapids' official website.
There is still no definitive timeline for the 35-year-old Mastroeni's return as he and the club maintain their cautious approach.
Think the Fire can stem the tide without Friedrich in defense? Relieved to hear that Kitchen's injury is not serious? Do you think Atouba would be a worthwhile pick-up for the Impact?
Share your thoughts below.