Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Bakary Soumare’s tenuous situation with the Philadelphia Union is taking a different turn than expected.
After asking for a trade two weeks into the season and not playing a single minute all year, Soumare is being thrown right into the starting lineup following the hamstring injury to teammate Jeff Parke, who won the position battle during the preseason.
“We’re pretty fortunate to have (Soumare) here and in good form,” Union manager John Hackworth said during his weekly media address. “He has trained hard every single day he has been here, we don’t have a question on his fitness. My expectation is that he makes the most of this.”
Soumare has made just one appearance for the Union since signing with the club last June from German side Karlsruher SC. However, now that he is likely to be in the lineup for the next few weeks, the club is taking him off the trade block for the time being.
The Union take on the Chicago Fire this Saturday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, the same place where Soumare found his feet in the league and developed into one of the best defenders in the country.
Here are some more notes from this week’s press conference:
PARKE INJURY NOT AS BAD AS FIRST THOUGHT
The Union suffered what appeared to be a huge blow on Saturday when defender Jeff Parke limped off just before halftime with what has been diagnosed as a hamstring strain. However, Hackworth informed the public on Wednesday that the injury is not as bad as feared.
“It will probably be a much quicker recovery, though he is unlikely to be available on Saturday,” Hackworth said about Parke’s status. “Our medical staff is working hard with him to get him back as quickly as possible, but it’s not worth one game.
“I think we’ll be a little bit conservative, but the good news is it’s not as bad as we first thought.”
Parke has started all nine games this season, his first with the Union since being acquired via trade with the Seattle Sounders.
HACKWORTH READY FOR SQUAD ROTATION
The Union have arrived at one of their first difficult stretches in their schedule, not just in terms of opposition but travel as well.
Saturday’s match will be the first of three games in an eight day span where they’ll play Chicago twice, one home and one away, as well as a match at home against the LA Galaxy in the middle of the week. With the red card to Sheanon Williams, and the lack of regular rest time during the stretch of games, Hackworth said he is ready to give other players an opportunity to play.
“We have to manage our roster, there’s going to be multiple guys that get an opportunity that haven’t been playing a lot or haven’t been in a starting role,” Hackworth said.
Though Hackworth hasn’t rotated his squad very much this season, the Union boss was very confident that his players could step up into a starting or first-team role.
“Any time a player, who works so hard every day in training, has a chance to now represent himself in a different role, it’s fantastic,” Hackworth added. “A lot of things in my experience can change once these players get these chances.”
NEWS AND NOTES
- Hackworth said the team is working on it’s communication in the defense this week in training.
- Hackworth said that he’s going to Chicago to attack, and keep the foot on the pedal.
- Hackworth said that he thinks it’s really important to put a side out that doesn’t just win but is entertaining too. Thinks the league doesn’t get enough credit for being entertaining.
- On Roger Torres: “It’s probably frustrating for Roger to not have had an opportunity earlier in the season. Roger’s another young guy that we have a lot of faith in, and hopefully there’s going to be a chance for Roger to get on the field and shine, but the reality is right now that Roger is probably a little farther down in the depth chart than he has been, and he needs to play his way out of that.”
What do you make of these notes? Do you see Soumare staying in the lineup once Parke is fit? Do you believe the Union will struggle with the new players in the back four? What do you make of the Roger Torres situation?