Steven Kinney Plays First Competitive Minutes Since 2010 Achilles Injury
MLS Reserve Games can sometimes have special storylines: fans get a look at an Academy player they’ve heard about, said Academy player scores to help his team win a game or a player comes back from a long injury recovery to assist on the team’s game-winning goal.
The latter was the case in Wednesday morning’s 3-1 Reserve win over Colorado as Fire defender Steven Kinney logged 60 minutes in his first competitive game since tearing his Achilles tendon in the team’s final match of 2010. The injury came on the heels of a promising rookie season that saw the Elon University product tally two goals and one assist in 16 competitive matches.
“It was fantastic to get back out there again,” said Kinney. “I’m still a little off the pace bit it felt good just to be out there with the team again.”
Utilized mainly as a right back during his rookie year, Kinney paired with Michael Videira in the center to start the game and though the team went down 1-0 through Andre Akpan’s 26th minute strike, the two did well to short up the defense.
Eventually Daniel Paladini equalized before Kinney’s weighted ball over the Rapids defense sprung Dominic Oduro to give the team a 2-1 lead before the half.
Still gaining match fitness, Kinney made way for Fire Academy product Grant Lillard on the hour mark but not before his teammates applauded him off the field.
Nineteen minutes after Kinney’s substitution, Homegrown midfielder Victor Pineda iced the game off a feed from Corben Bone.
“There was a lot of excitement there for me this morning,” said Kinney. “I woke up thirty minute before I usually do, pumped and ready to go. I didn’t have nerves, just pure excitement.”
Kinney is a prototype of why the return of the MLS Reserve League last season was a good thing as he admitted practice could only help him gain so much fitness in his recovery.
“With these games, you get game experience. You can pick the pace of the game back up. Practices have water breaks, where in a game you go 45 minutes, halftime then 45 minutes again. Today was very beneficial for me.”
Kinney will hope to continue regaining fitness in the team’s next reserve game, set for Monday, September 10 at Houston.