BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- It’d be hard to remember the last time Fire defender Gonzalo Segares had an injury layoff as long as the one he’s gone through this season.
In case you’ve forgotten, it came at the end of 2010 when Segares missed the team’s final four matches of the season when a quad injury. He surpassed that mark last match day, missing his fifth consecutive game since suffering a worse than expected ankle sprain suffered back on March 16 at Portland.
The Good News: Segares took a major step last week, returning to full training and playing 45 minutes in the Fire Reserves 3-2 win at the Charlotte Eagles on Friday night.
“It was tough,” he admitted this week. “I’ve been out for a while and it’s always hard to come back and regain your fitness. That’s the most difficult part. I keep working on it and that’s part of what reserve games are for – playing is the only way to get fit. You can play at practice and stuff but it’s nothing like a real game.”
Fire head coach Frank Yallop was happy to see Segares return in the match.
“It’s good to get him 45 minutes, I think he enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s been a lot longer than I thought it would be. We thought a week or so but he’s been out five or six weeks.”
In that time, the Fire have seen a strong emergence of second-year MLS defender Greg Cochrane. Acquired from the LA Galaxy just before the start of the season, Cochrane probably wasn’t expecting to slot into the starting 11 so quickly for the Fire.
After all, Segares had missed just six of a possible 102 matches the past three seasons for the Men in Red. But Cochrane has shown very well in his absence and his play no doubt makes Frank Yallop’s decision at left back more difficult heading into Saturday’s match vs. Real Salt Lake.
“Greg has played very well for us this season,” Segares said. “But if my name is called upon, I definitely will be ready. We’ll see how this week goes but after that it’s all up to the coach. I’ll work hard to do my best and be available and we’ll see at the end of the week.”
Other Injury Notes:
After leaving the 1-1 draw vs. New England in the 39th minute with a hamstring tweak, Alex has returned to training this week.
“He should be okay for the weekend,” Yallop said. We’ll see how he gets through training this week. He’s a little behind fitness wise but he should be okay and available for the weekend we hope.”
Things aren’t quite as clear for Dilly Duka who’s own hamstring injury has kept him from making an appearance since the season opener on March 9 at Chivas USA.
“Dilly is training again this week, I don’t think he’s ready for the weekend but he may get through the next few days and say he’s okay. We pushed him a little bit and he’s broke down a couple times so we don’t want to do that again but Dilly is an important player for us and I haven’t really had him all year. It’d be nice to have a selection problem with him coming back into the fold when he can.”