BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- In the most ironic of circumstances, former Fire defender Bakary Soumare seems likely to return to the field for the Philadelphia Union for their Saturday visit to Toyota Park.
Soumare’s predicted re-insertion into the Union lineup comes a month on from handing in a trade request after seeing Jeff Parke and Amobi Okugo chosen as the starting center back tandem to start the season.
Since putting in his request, Soumare has not been part of the Union’s match day squad but as fate would have it, Parke left injured at halftime of Philadelphia’s 2-2 draw last Saturday vs. Seattle while Sheanon Williams is suspended for Saturday’s game vs. the Fire.
READ: Soumare asks for Union trade
The two losses in the back for Philadelphia forced Union head coach John Hackworth to point to Soumare for the likely start Saturday vs. Chicago.
Ironically, his only previous appearance for the Union came against his former team’s 3-1 victory at Philadelphia last August.
HIGHLIGHTS: Fire 3, Union 1 (8/12/2013)
“That’s the only time I’ve seen him play in a while,” Chris Rolfe told Chicago-Fire.com.
Rolfe should know Soumare better than most in the league after training against him every day when the two played together for the Fire from 2007-09.
“I don’t know where he is right now fitness wise and how he’s doing but he’s a classy player, if he comes in the game he’s going to give them all that he has and be a tough opponent.”
For different reasons, Soumare has been adamant about a trade for the past month and mentioned Chicago as a potential destination.
Last month, Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon acknowledged the club was looking at Soumare but its likely his high salary number had made a move to the Fire difficult.
Patrick Nyarko, another former teammate acknowledged the situation in Philadelphia has been a tough one for Soumare.
“He’s handled it pretty well I think, he’s been around for a while. He’s been classy about it and that’s the sort of guy he is. He’s going to be patient for whatever comes.
In the meantime, Soumare trained everyday and seems ready to take the opportunity Saturday against his former squad.
“I never doubt his commitment for the situation he’s in, even though all of this has come around, I don’t think he goes through training with a different mentality.
"He’s always working hard and if he gets to play in the games he’s going to give his all.”