Patrick Nyarko returns to health while Lindpere makes case for second straight start

Nyarko returns to training, while groin strain could leave Duka out vs. Houston

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Patrick Nyarko’s strep throat may have kept him out of Saturday’s 4-1 win over D.C. United but had he not been contagious, chances are he still would have tried to play.

“I feel pretty good,” Nyarko told reporters after training on Tuesday. “I feel like the only reason I couldn’t play the game was because I couldn’t be around guys. I wasn’t bed-ridden or anything. I think I caught it really early and treated it.”

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Because of the illness, the Fire veteran midfielder was sequestered for the weekend, making him miss the game and the club’s “Meet the Team” event for Season Ticket Holders on Sunday.

Nyarko returned and participated in full at training on on Tuesday. He admitted it was difficult to have to watch the team play without him.

“It hurt not playing the game. The guys played unbelievable – I just felt bad I wasn’t part of it but I felt great for the guys to get us a win and to help us push for that playoff spot.”

In the Ghanaian’s absence, Joel Lindpere stepped back into the starting lineup on the left and undoubtedly had his best game since joining the club in January, tallying one goal and two assists in the match.

Despite his one-goal, two assist performance against D.C., Lindpere was in doubt post-game as to whether he’d stay in the starting lineup this Saturday vs. Houston with Nyarko expected to return.

The Estonian just might get another start though as Dilly Duka came out of Saturday’s win in the 47th minute with a groin strain.

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The injury was something he began to feel flare up at the end of the half but on Tuesday explained why he didn’t pull himself out of the match during the interval.

“I definitely did it in the first half,” he said. “I came out in the second half and felt like it was only going to get worse. Maybe I should have come out at halftime but once you stop play, your body is resting. Once I started that warm-up in the second half, I felt it and it took me a minute or two to get subbed.”

Duka is listed as questionable on the Athletico Injury Report and hasn’t trained yet this week. Fire head coach Frank Klopas said Tuesday the injury would be monitored on a day-to-day basis.

Despite not training, Duka said, “I feel alright and we’ll see how things go day-to-day. If I feel good I’m definitely going to want to travel with the team [this weekend].”