Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Dax McCarty’s long injury layoff could end as soon as this weekend.
Ahead of the New York Red Bulls’ match on Saturday against the Columbus Crew, head coach Mike Petke teased to reporters that the 27-year-old midfielder could be back in the starting lineup after missing more than a month with a knee injury.
“As far as this weekend goes, if he continues to progress in the next three days like has over the past couple of weeks and continues to be in full every day, there’s really no scenario that’s off the table, as far as starting, as far as coming off the bench, anything’s possible,” Petke told Empire of Soccer.
With McCarty out and Tim Cahill away on international duty for the second half of May and first half of June, Petke was forced to turn to winger Eric Alexander, attacker Peguy Luyindula, and centerback Ibrahim Sekagya to fill in at the central midfield positions. Considering how long McCarty has been out, Petke couldn’t promise that he would start against Columbus.
“Obviously it’s not very easy for him being out this long just to jump back in and be ready to start and be ready to go 90 minutes,” Petke said. “It’s a very positive sign that he was in (Tuesday’s practice), he did work on the days off the last couple of days.”
Here are some more notes from around MLS:
JIMENEZ SIDELINED WITH KNEE INJURY
One of the Crew’s most dependable players will be sidelined for the near future.
At practice on Tuesday, Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter confirmed that right midfielder Hector Jimenez would miss the next six to eight weeks with a grade two tear of his medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Jimenez suffered the injury during the Crew’s 1-1 draw at the Colorado Rapids, when Vicente Sanchez flew into a tackle with a studs up challenge.
“It was a careless challenge,” Berhalter told the Columbus Dispatch. “It was unfortunate and we’re going to miss Hector.”
With Jimenez out, it could potentially lead to more playing time for new winger Alvaro Rey, who was acquired in a trade in June from Toronto FC in exchange for Dominic Oduro.
In addition to Jimenez’s absence, forward Aaron Schoenfeld, who has scored 12 goals while on loan with the Dayton Dutch Lions, is training with the Crew. The club also expect both Costa Rican internationals, Waylon Francis and Giancarlo Gonzalez, to meet the squad in New York on Friday and be available for selection on Saturday.
IMPACT REVEAL INTEREST IN OCCEAN
The Montreal Impact could be adding a Canadian international forward to their squad in the near future.
After reports emerged earlier this week that 32-year-old forward Olivier Occean would be interested in a move to the Impact, Impact head coach Frank Klopas echoed those sentiments and said that there is mutual interest to potentially get a deal completed.
“We’re looking to add depth there, not only now but for the future,” Klopas told reporters on Tuesday. “He’s a player that brings something different. He’s a bigger guy, he looks to run behind, he has more of a presence in the box.
“There’s definitely an interest from his part and from us,” Klopas continued.
Occean is currently with Kaiserslautern in the 2. Bundesliga but the German club are reportedly willing to let him leave on a free transfer. Occean reportedly also has offers from other clubs in Germany and in Turkey.
Occean was originally the 26th pick in the 2004 MLS Draft by the Metrostars but impressed so much at the La Manga cup during preseason that Odds Ballklubb snapped him up with an offer that the Metrostars couldn’t match.
New York City FC have confirmed that they’ve sent right back Jeb Brovsky on loan to Norwegian side Strømsgodset through the end of December. (REPORT)
Sporting KC signed free-agent rookie midfielder Michael Kafari. (REPORT)
The Vancouver Whitecaps announced that they would have their own USL Pro club in 2015 based in New Westminster, B.C. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you believe Dax could start this weekend? How big of a loss is Jimenez from the Crew’s lineup? How would Occean fit into the Impact’s lineup?
Share your thoughts below.