By DAN KARELL
All signs in Harrison, New Jersey are pointing to another early return from injury for Tim Cahill.
After returning from a torn PCL suffered in late July in just three weeks, Cahill faces an equally fast recovery time from an ankle ligament injury suffered on the last day of August. The New York Red Bulls midfielder made the bench last Saturday in a 2-0 victory against Toronto FC, and could move back into the starting eleven this Sunday when the Red Bulls host FC Dallas.
“He seems to be doing very well,” head coach Mike Petke said during his weekly conference call. “We have another week ahead of us that he can keep rehabbing it and be integrated into the team. Without making predictions, it’s looking good. It’s looking good that this is going to be a big week for him, and we could possibly see him in action.”
In his first full season with the Red Bulls, Cahill has been a huge contributor both on and off the statsheet, leading the side to first place in the conference and adding eight goals and four assists in 22 games started.
Here are some other notes from around the MLS Eastern Conference:
While they lost defender Arne Friedrich to a career-ending hip injury, two players have stepped up for the Chicago Fire over the course of the season.
As we head into the final few weeks of the season, two players in the Fire’s backline, Austin Berry and Jalil Anibaba, have each played every minute of every game for the club this season.
“We’re getting down to crunch time and the body feels really good and we’re ready for a last push,” Anibaba told the Daily Herald.
The massive amount of injuries that have affected the Columbus Crew squad this season have forced them to use players out of position.
However, as it turns out, one player playing now in central defense is in his desired position after all. Tyson Wahl began the season as a left back for the Crew, but has played plenty in the middle since Glauber went down with a torn ACL earlier this season. According to head coach Brian Bliss, Wahl was originally signed for the team as a left sided center back.
“When we picked up Tyson in the offseason, in the pecking order was Tyson: left-center back who can also play left back, not left back and can play left-center back,” Bliss told the Columbus Dispatch. “It was a natural fit for him. He just hasn’t had a chance to play there yet this year. That’s his job, really. He’s a left-center back before he’s a left back.”
With the team finally eliminated from MLS playoff contention, D.C. United manager Ben Olsen has put all his planning and energies towards the U.S. Open Cup Final against Real Salt Lake on October 1 at the Rio Tinto Stadium.
As the team slowly recovers from injuries to a number of players, the Washington Post estimates that Saturday’s match against D.C. United will likely see a regular lineup, but the September 28 match at Toronto FC (three days before the U.S. Open Cup final) will likely be played by the reserve players.
“We thought a lot about how we want to go about the next [few] weeks from a minutes standpoint, travel standpoint and training standpoint,” Olsen told the Washington Post. “We are pretty mapped out.”
Last Friday, the Houston Dynamo shocked a lot of fans and observers around the league by trading midfielder Adam Moffat to the Seattle Sounders for Servando Carrasco.
While on paper it seems like a big loss for the Dynamo, club President Chris Canetti admitted in an interview on the club’s website that the Dynamo were looking at ways to improve their salary cap issues for this season and next.
“The other factor that was really big to us (in the trade) was that we did really help the net difference on our cap next year,” Canetti said. “Most people don’t really realize that but we have a big cap challenge ahead of us next year and we want to keep this team together and stay competitive year in and year out.”
The Montreal Impact are putting the finishing touches on a project that has been in the works ever since making the jump to MLS.
The club are nearing completion of a turf field next to Stade Saputo, which will be used as a training field for the club and also as a local resource for the community’s soccer teams. Using the latest technology, the FieldTurf surface has been given a FIFA two star rating, the highest FIFA bestows to turf fields.
CenturyLink Field, Jeld-Wen Field, and Gillette Stadium each have two-star rated fields.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Though he hasn’t played much this season, the New England Revolution did receive some good news on the Juan Toja front.
The Colombian midfielder received his U.S. Green Card earlier this week, which will count him as a domestic player in the club’s roster, allowing them to go out and sign another international player this offseason when the roster freeze is lifted.
For the second time in a week, the Philadelphia Union ended up on the end of a loss, without scoring a goal.
The team, which has struggled to score for much of the last couple of months, is currently on the outside looking in of the playoff picture, and need to fully take advantage of their final five weeks of the season to ensure a playoff place. Manager John Hackworth has received plenty of the blame for the team’s recent performances, but he thinks that had Keon Daniel’s goal been allowed to stand last Saturday, the outcome of the match against the Houston Dynamo would have been different.
“Not only did we get plenty of chances but we scored a legitimate goal,” Hackworth told MLSSoccer.com. “It’s not our fault that it was called back. It is what it is and we have to live with that. But it changes everything. It literally changes everything.”
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
It’s been a tough season for Jacob Peterson, but he marked a rare start with a game-tying goal that earned Sporting Kansas City a 1-1 tie against Real Esteli on Tuesday evening.
The goal was Peterson’s first in all competitions for Sporting KC this season, battling through a shoulder injury that kept him out until April, as well as a deep position battle that includes the likes of Soony Saad, Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi, and formerly Kei Kamara.
Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen isn’t confident that Jonathan Osorio will escape MLS Disciplinary Committee punishment this week for an incident from last Saturday.
Osorio slammed a ball into the head of New York Red Bulls defender Kosuke Kimura, starting a small melee between the two sides that disrupted play for a couple of minutes. The referee didn’t choose to issue any cards in the incident, but from video replay, it certainly looks like a strong blow to the head of Kimura.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Jon gets (additional discipline) because it’s one of those where if you slow it down it doesn’t look great,” Nelsen told the Toronto Sun this week. “But when you do it in normal motion it just looks like part of the game. I can just see the experts will slow it down and they’ll pinpoint it and they’ll find something wrong with it and I wouldn’t be surprised if something happens.”
What do you think of these notes? Do you see Cahill starting this weekend? Do you see Osorio being suspended by MLS? Do you see the Revolution keeping Toja for next season and using the extra international roster spot?
Share your thoughts below.